Wednesday, June 28, 2017

No Pa. budget deal; vigil planned tonight in Media

It's the old Harrisburg two-step.

With just a few days before the deadline, the state still does not have a budget in place.

Now even one of the state's most reliable fail-safes when it comes to these budget sagas is causing a bit of discord.

Republicans, who control both the House and Senate, continue to be opposed to anything that can be construed as a tax hike.

That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.

What it does, however, is allow for another expansion in legal gaming in the state.

But now Republicans apparently cannot even agree on how much expansion is a good thing.

At issue is a push to allow Video Gaming Terminals in neighborhood taverns, bars and truck stops.

It could raise as much as $250 million in new revenue, not a bad thing when the state is looking at a deficit that is believed to be in the billions.

But not everyone thinks putting these VGTs in neighborhoods is a good thing. For one thing, a lot of people fear people's rent checks could wind up in them, instead of paying the bills.

Then there is the state lottery. Gov. Tom Wolf fears that fund, which largely benefits the state's senior citizens, could take a serious hit if VGTs become law.

And finally there are the state's legal casinos. As you might expect, places like Harrah's down in Chester are not thrilled about the prospect of all these terminals providing even more competition for the gambling dollar.

Then again there are groups who believe that the entire process is out of whack, and instead want the state to adopt what they call a "fair and balanced budget."

Good luck with that.

The group will hold a vigil tonight at 6 outside the Media Courthouse.

We'll be there to cover it.

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