State House Speaker Keith McCall said today that he supports Gov. Rendell's proposal to hike Pennsylvania's income tax but isn't certain that such an idea can pass the General Assembly.


"Tax votes are not easy votes," McCall said at the Pennsylvania Press Club's monthly luncheon in Harrisburg.
Last week, Rendell proposed hiking the state income tax from 3.07 to 3.57 percent to cover a growing budget hole.


McCall said today he supports raising that tax but was unsure how much would be best. It beats deeply cutting programs as suggested by many at the Capitol, primarily Republicans who control the Senate.


"My concern is that it will equate to significant property tax increases if we cut our way out of this," said McCall, who called the budget mess the "worst that I have ever seen" in his nearly three decades in the House.


The speaker also said he highly doubted that the budget would be passed by the July 1 start of the next fiscal year. And he said he doesn't support an idea floated by some in Harrisburg of passing a stop-gap budget to cover state expenses until a full budget can be enacted.


Rather, McCall said he would prefer lawmakers "step up to the plate and get the whole job done now."

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