Joseph B. Scarnati

Governor, lawmakers aren't panicking as budget push nears

As the most intense part of this year's budget season is about to get underway, it's been remarkably quiet in the state Capitol, and policymakers say they're hopeful that bodes well for an improvement in what's been a strained process for several years.

Republican leaders in the Legislature say they hope a deal can be completely wrapped up before the June 30 deadline, thanks to stable tax revenues and a political environment that has lowered expectations for major new initiatives.

"You're not talking about billion-dollar deficits anymore," said House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, while at the same time cautioning that "you never know how things turn...