Lawmakers return amid effort to end 3-month budget stalemate

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Lawmakers are back in the Pennsylvania Capitol amid a three-month-old budget stalemate, but optimism about an evolving proposal to fill a $2.2 billion revenue gap isn't translating into action.

Rank-and-file members of the House Republican majority remained in the dark Monday afternoon about the secret negotiations, and no briefing or voters were planned. A proposed package under discussion behind closed doors leans heavily on borrowing, one-time fund transfers and an expansion of casino-style gambling.

Tax increases will be involved, too, including on business storage and online sales. It doesn't include a tax on Marcellus Shale production after House backers couldn't overcome the opposition of House GOP leaders last week.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a $32 billion budget bill June 30, about a 3 percent increase, but haven't agreed on how to fully fund it.

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