IFO downgrades structural deficit by as much as $400 million

IFO downgrades structural deficit by as much as $400 million

The Independent Fiscal Office reported to the House Appropriations Committee Monday that the structural deficit facing budget crafters might be less than originally thought.

Asked by Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) about how increased revenues have impacted a previously reported IFO deficit estimate of $1.8 billion, Office director Matthew Knittel reported it has been reduced by $300-$400 million landing somewhere around $1.5 billion.

“We would revise it down to somewhere around $1.5 [billion] or $1.6 [billion],” he told committee members while noting it is difficult to determine the exact number due to supplemental appropriations.

Monday, March 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Rep. Kampf renews push for his defined contribution pension plan

Rep. Kampf renews push for his defined contribution pension plan

Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) renewed his effort to bring new state and public school employees under a defined contribution pension plan with Friday’s announced introduction of House Bill 727.

“Getting this reform signed into law this year or the next two years would be groundbreaking,” he told The PLS Reporter. “I don’t consider it a first step, I consider it in and of itself a very significant reform to our public retirement system.”

Friday, March 6, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate Democrats will assess support for Wolf’s spending plan after budget hearings

Senate Democrats will assess support for Wolf’s spending plan after budget hearings

A day after Democratic leaders from both chambers gave universal support to Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget plan, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) said the full depth of the caucus’s support will be more accurately found following budget hearings.

“To say I have 100 percent of our members on board, I can’t say that and I will never say that,” Sen. Costa told reporters. “I will say to you we haven’t heard objections, significant objections from our members when they look at [the budget proposal] in a comprehensive way.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House Republicans see some positives to Gov. Wolf’s pension proposal

House Republicans see some positives to Gov. Wolf’s pension proposal

Some House Republicans are praising portions of the pension proposal laid out by Gov. Tom Wolf in his budget address Tuesday.

In that address, Gov. Wolf proposed borrowing $3 billion to refinance some of the PSERS unfunded liability with the debt service to be paid by $185 million per year obtained through revenues from liquor modernization.

He also called for reforming the investment strategies of both state-run pension systems so as to reduce the cost of fund management fees, which is hoped to save $200 million annually and reduce the unfunded liability by more than $2 billion over its anticipated life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Republicans call Gov. Wolf’s budget a shell game

Republicans call Gov. Wolf’s budget a shell game

Republicans in charge of both chambers of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly forecast a tough road ahead for Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, calling some of the proposals a “shell game.”

“This is the most massive tax and spend plan in recent history of the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), who pointed out the budget includes $12 billion in tax increases over the next two fiscal years.

“If anybody doesn’t believe those tax increases—working, middle class Pennsylvanians—that those tax increases aren’t coming out of their pocket, they need to get a new pencil and calculator because they’re coming out their pocket,” he said. “If the governor thinks that Pennsylvanians have a low self-esteem now, wait until they get that tax bill.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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