GOP lawmakers draw lines as Democrat Tom Wolf focuses message on potential $2 billion deficit


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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — With Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf drumming a message about state government's massive structural deficit, the leaders of Pennsylvania's big Republican legislative majorities have a message for him: Me first.

So far, Republican leaders say their ideas must come first before they'll consider any tax increase, including on natural gas drilling. However, they are staking out positions that Wolf opposed during his campaign and that stalled under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett amid solid opposition by Democratic lawmakers.

One idea is to exchange the traditional pension system for a 401(k)-style system. It doesn't promise any near-term help with the $2 billion deficit, however.

Meanwhile, the man who will become House speaker in January, Mike Turzai, wants the state to sell its wholesale and retail wine and liquor operations to private businesses.

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