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Yesterday, the state Senate narrowly (26-24) passed legislation containing $1.8 billion in new taxes to help fill the gap and balance the FY 2017-18 state budget. Among the increases included in House Bill 542 is a provision which would increase the Gross Receipts Tax on telephone companies/customers from 50 to 60 mills. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman offered that senators held the line on new taxes for as long as they could but needed to approve the increases in order to avoid a government spending freeze. The bill now heads to the House where it faces an interesting debate. (See related story in Quotable Section).