- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Latest on Pennsylvania budget talks (all times local):

11:25 p.m.

Legislation to close a $2 billion hole in the Pennsylvania state budget will get a vote in the full Senate after clearing committee late Wednesday.

The Republican-crafted bill includes a mix of taxes and borrowing, including a new severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and new or higher taxes on consumers’ natural gas, electric and phone bills.

The GOP-controlled Appropriations Committee approved the legislation. It heads to the Senate floor for a vote on Thursday.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf commended the Senate “for taking a responsible step toward balancing the budget,” including the tax on gas drillers.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the GOP-controlled House.

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8:35 p.m.

Republicans who control the Pennsylvania Senate have agreed on a plan to close a $2 billion hole in the state budget with a mix of taxes and borrowing, including a new severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman emerged from closed-door talks Wednesday night to announce details of the GOP’s plan to help balance the $32 billion budget. He says the severance tax is expected to raise about $100 million each year.

Corman also revealed new or higher taxes on consumers’ natural gas, electric and telecommunications bills and a plan to borrow against Pennsylvania’s annual share of the 1998 multistate settlement with tobacco companies.

Corman says the new taxes will raise a total of about $550 million per year.

House Republicans tried but failed last week to come up with a solution to the budget deficit.

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This item has been corrected to show the tax revenue figure is $550 million, not $770 million.

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7:30 p.m.

Republicans who control the Pennsylvania Senate are discussing the possibility of a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas drillers as they seek agreement on a plan to plug a $2 billion hole in the state budget.

Senators returned to the Capitol on Wednesday for negotiations on a revenue plan to help balance the $32 billion state budget.

A Republican senator says the GOP caucus is discussing a severance tax on drillers. The senator spoke on the condition of anonymity because the budget talks are private.

The gas industry has long resisted a severance tax, saying it would harm the state’s competitiveness. GOP leaders have long rejected such a tax.

Gas drillers currently pay an impact fee, which is distributed among the state government and local communities where drilling takes place.

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By Associated Press writer Marc Levy.

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4 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Senate has returned to the Capitol to see if it can plug a $2 billion hole in the state budget, which took effect July 1.

House Republicans tried but failed last week to come up with a solution to the budget deficit.

Now it’s the Republican-controlled Senate’s turn. Republicans went behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon as they try to come up with a plan to balance the $32 billion budget.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf allowed the budget to take effect without his signature.

Several revenue proposals have been discussed. The governor has said he could support borrowing, if it’s accompanied by increased taxes he views as necessary to avoid a credit downgrade.

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11 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Senate is returning to the Capitol to see if it can devise a plan for plugging a $2 billion hole in the state budget, which took effect July 1.

House Republicans tried but failed last week to come up with a proposed solution.

Now the Republican-controlled Senate is hoping to do better during two days in Harrisburg, starting Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf allowed the $32 billion budget to take effect without his signature.

The governor has said he could support borrowing, if it’s accompanied by enough recurring tax revenue to put the state on a path to fiscal solvency.

A variety of proposals for increasing tax revenues have been discussed.

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