Legislative leaders spin House-passed budget

The House of Representatives Saturday afternoon passed a GOP crafted $30.1 billion budget plan that does not include any of the three main priorities of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House passed FY 2015-2016 spending plan worked its way through the chamber by a 112-77 vote with two Republicans, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) and Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair), joining Democrats in opposing the plan.

Following the vote, leaders from both parties visited with reporters to discuss the spending plan.

“I think the key components to this budget are that it’s balanced with no new taxes going forward into the next fiscal year; we not only meet our current obligations as far as funding core functions of government, but we also include over $200 million worth of new spending related to education items in the budget,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

GOP’s budget plan revealed; Gov. Wolf vows veto

House and Senate Republican leaders stood united Friday afternoon unveiling the much anticipated agreed-to budget bill that they promise to have to the governor’s desk by the end of June 30th.

“In November of 2014, the people of Pennsylvania sent historic majorities of the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate—Republicans—to Harrisburg with a mandate to reign in state government spending and to hold the line on taxes,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre).

He said the budget put together lives up to that mandate, noting it makes significant new investments in education, grows at a rate below TABOR, as well as making investments in agriculture, services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and security for the Pope’s visit in September.

“Most importantly, this budget does not include any new taxes,” he emphasized, noting the chambers will also pass liquor privatization and pension reform measures to send to the governor by June 30th.

The total budget figure being offered by the Republicans tops out at $30.1 billion.

Friday, June 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Democrats decry Republican agreed-to budget prospects

Democrats decry Republican agreed-to budget prospects

House and Senate Democrats Thursday responded to reports of an agreed-to budget among the Republican caucuses that is likely to take more detailed shape over the next several days.

Legislative Democratic leaders held a closed-door discussion with Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday to detail strategy and plan for the coming days.

House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) couched the coming budget proposal as “more of the same.”

“They’re really not serious about talking,” he said. “The governor and Democrats have been at the table and offered some things to them that have been pretty much ignored and they just want to do what they’ve done for the last four years and kind of go on their merry way with all their really non-budget, gimmick-filled budgets, missed opportunity budgets.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Sen. Wagner enters budget negotiations

Sen. Wagner enters budget negotiations

Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) was involved in budget-related negotiations Thursday, partaking in a closed-door meeting with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) and Wolf administration proxies on property tax relief.

Upon leaving the meeting, Sen. Wagner was coy to discuss with reporters what was detailed in the meeting—calling it his Sgt. Schultz moment—he did note the importance of providing property tax relief to homeowners.

“The school tax issue, that’s the largest issue we have in Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s driven pensions; there are a lot of issues.”

He said those in his district “are begging for relief.”

Thursday, June 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate Democrats add new proposal to the property tax relief discussion

Senate Democrats add new proposal to the property tax relief discussion

Senate Democrats Wednesday added their property tax reform proposal into the fray, proposing increases in the personal income, sales, and cigarette taxes to raise $4.4 billion to provide maximum property tax relief in the form of a $1,990 refund check.

According to the proposal, renters will be eligible for a $500 rent refund.

The plan is called The Pennsylvania Home Rebate Plan.

A fact sheet handed out by the caucus indicates the proposal will raise the needed revenues by increasing the personal income tax to 4.08 percent, raising the sales and use tax by .6 percent, adding $1 to the per pack cigarette tax, and imposing another 40 percent tax on all other tobacco products.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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