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Key Pa. Senator: 'Optimism' For This Budget Season

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- A key state senator says for the first time in years, there is optimism in the state capitol as lawmakers head into the budget season, one that could actually wrap up on time – or close to it.

Republican Pat Browne, chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee, told a meeting of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce that revenue collections are on target and running about a billion dollars above last year at this time. And he foresees a budget season without the long, drawn-out battles between the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf that have become the norm.

"Definitely earlier than prior years," he said, "but on time and maybe a couple of days or a week early, possibly."

Browne admits he's going out on a limb, but says things are a lot more positive now.

"I think there's a sense of collaboration that exists in the building," he said. "I'm hopeful that holds."

If revenue collections remain strong, Browne believes there could be more money in the budget for higher education and people with disabilities.

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