GOP House member unveils budget alternative

Standing alone Thursday, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) unveiled what he called a “middle of the road” budget alternative.

“I’ve been here a long time, I’ve been through a lot of these debates on the budget and I think it’s time we start to get serious about doing this,” he said at Thursday morning’s news conference unveiling his proposal. “It doesn’t appear to me that much progress is being made.”

Thursday, July 16, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf vetoes liquor privatization, budget implementation bills

Gov. Wolf vetoes liquor privatization, budget implementation bills

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday afternoon his veto of a liquor privatization bill passed by the General Assembly as well as two budget implementation bills in the form of the School Code and Fiscal Code.

In vetoing House Bill 466, liquor privatization legislation sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Gov. Wolf said the legislation is irresponsible.

“This legislation falls short of a responsible means to reform our state liquor system and to maximize revenues to benefit our citizen,” Gov. Wolf said in a statement. “It makes bad business sense for the Commonwealth and consumers to sell off an asset, especially before maximizing its value. During consideration of this legislation, it became abundantly clear that this plan would result in higher prices for consumers.”

House Bill 466 is the first liquor privatization bill sent to a governor and would have phased out the current state retail liquor market according to a formula.

Thursday, July 2, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate Democrats say working with Republicans is a frustrating affair

Senate Democrats say working with Republicans is a frustrating affair

Talk to Senate Democrats about what it’s like working with Republican counterparts in the Senate and the buzz word is “frustrating.”

Frustrating, they say, in both trying to advance their proposals and then also receive credit for legislation they’ve sponsored that passes under a different bill number and with a Republican co-sponsor.

“It’s certainly frustrating, this whole process has been frustrating,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) told The PLS Reporter Monday. “It’s been very frustrating for us through this whole process, the unwillingness to want to move on some of these issues.”

One particularly scorned member of the Senate Democratic Caucus is Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin) who has had two proposals he’s put forward advance in the Senate, though without him being named as a sponsor or getting credit for the legislation.

Monday, June 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

The first step for the Senate in the continued movement of a Republican crafted FY 2015-2016 spending plan saw the legislation move out of the Senate Appropriations Committee along a straight party-line vote Sunday evening.

However, the committee action was permeated with debate over education funding after committee Minority Chairman Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) offered an amendment to fund education at the level proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

It was the second of three amendments Sen. Hughes offered to the budget bill.

“To say that the education investment proposal in House Bill 1192 is reflective of the needs and concerns of the people of the Commonwealth really does not make sense,” he said. “It shows folks are out of touch with what’s going on in the community.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

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
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