Pa. budget battle crawls along

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State budget talks have degenerated from showdown to stalemate, and the prospect for state workers’ furloughs makes meltdown a real possibility.

The various players have spent a lot of energy recently trying to deflect blame away from themselves, but the fact is that no one can really predict how the public will assign responsibility if the impasse becomes protracted.

“At the end of the day, they’re both under a lot of pressure — both sides of the Legislature,” said Mike Barley, a spokesman for the Republican State Committee. “I really don’t know how it’s going to go. It’s kind of wide open.”

The state fiscal year ended Saturday without a 2007-08 spending plan in place. There was little progress in the negotiations today, and talks over the past several days have not yielded a breakthrough.

Top House Democrats met today with Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, and more face-to-face leadership talks were scheduled for Thursday.

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