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Wolf: 'Honest' deficit solutions needed

HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf said Friday that he would listen to ways to wipe out a long-term deficit and increase education aid without raising sales or income taxes, but insisted that the deficit be addressed honestly and without "smoke and mirrors."

HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf said Friday that he would listen to ways to wipe out a long-term deficit and increase education aid without raising sales or income taxes, but insisted that the deficit be addressed honestly and without "smoke and mirrors."

Wolf said budget-makers must be honest about a long-term deficit that has prompted rating agency downgrades and left Pennsylvania's creditworthiness in the nation's basement.

"We can't use smoke and mirrors that we've used in the past," he said after a speech to the Pennsylvania American Legion convention.

His comments came on the 10th day the state is without a budget it needs to pay all of its bills in the new fiscal year. Talks were at a standstill Friday.

In the last 10 days, Wolf vetoed Republican bills to generate revenue by privatizing the state-controlled sale of wine and liquor, as well as one that would squeeze long-term savings out of the state's two major public employee pension systems.

Republicans say their legislation set the state government on a responsible fiscal course and provided Wolf with what he needs. "If he's not seeing what we put on his desk, we're certainly at a loss as to where he's going," said Jay Ostrich, a spokesman for House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny). - AP