Gov. Wolf not fazed by GOP’s take it or leave it education for pension reform offer

Gov. Wolf not fazed by GOP’s take it or leave it education for pension reform offer

Speaking to the latest budget developments Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf said the take it or leave it nature of the offer made by Republican leadership is “not unusual in negotiations.”

The Republican proposal provides $400 million for education funding if the governor agrees to a new pension reform proposal that is a modified version of a plan passed the legislature in June.

“We’re talking and I continue to think this is a good step forward,” he said. “They embraced the idea of $400 million of additional money in basic education and education is really important to me.”

Gov. Wolf said he still reviewing the pension reform offer, stating he is waiting to see numbers from a state actuary in order to guide his decision.

Thursday, August 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf announces expanded CHIP benefits

Gov. Wolf announces expanded CHIP benefits

Gov. Tom Wolf traveled to Hershey Thursday morning where he was joined by Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller at Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital to announce enhanced Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits at all levels so the insurance plans will meet Affordable Care Act standards for minimum essential coverage.

Thursday, August 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

GOP modified pension reform plan met with chilly reception by some Democrats

The GOP’s latest proffer on pension reform has been met with a chilly reception by some legislative Democrats, who say Republicans are thus far operating off of talking points and not proposed a plan that would actually work.

In tweets by mid-afternoon Wednesday, House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) said the plan is the wrong answer for the budget.

“The ‘new’ GOP pension plan looks a lot like old #SB1 plan,” one tweet read.

“At first blush based on sketchy detail, GOP pension idea appears to increase systems' unfunded liability. Wrong answer for #PaBudget," said another from Rep. Dermody’s account.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Gov. Wolf: budget should pay for interest payments incurred by school districts and small nonprofits

Adding to Wednesday’s budget news, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the yet-to-be found final proposal to include funding for school districts and certain small nonprofits that had to borrow money at interest to make ends meet during the length of the budget impasse.

According to a news release from Gov. Wolf’s office, a similar undertaking was agreed to for school districts following the 2003 budget impasse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Republicans offer governor’s desired education funding for modified pension reform plan

Republicans offer governor’s desired education funding for modified pension reform plan

Wednesday, Republican legislative leaders offered Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic legislative leaders their desired education funding level in exchange for a revised defined contribution pension reform plan.

If the offer is accepted by Gov. Wolf and Democrats, it would mark the largest step forward in Pennsylvania’s now seven week-long budget stalemate.

According to top Republican leaders from the Senate and the House who spoke following Wednesday’s negotiating session, Republicans would find a way to fund an additional $300 million in education funding above the $100 million in new investment in the budget passed on June 30 if the governor would agree to a pension reform bill that looks largely like the defined contribution plan in Senate Bill 1, but with some modifications.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) laid out some of the more major modifications to the pension reform plan, including a 16 percent employer contribution, removing legal issues brought up by Gov. Wolf in his veto message, as well as including a one percent employer contribution to the cash balance side of the plan.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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