Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale had one message for budget negotiators Tuesday: his office is watching.

“If you don’t get a budget deal done, the Auditor General is going to continue to hammer the lack of wasting money, not getting the deal done, and our kids are going to get hurt in the process,” he said.

The message came in a press conference where DePasquale announced that for the first time in the history of his office, the Department of Auditor General will be taking into account the costs being incurred by school districts as a result of the stalemate.

Accordingly, he said, his office is directing school district auditors to include an analysis of the cost of the budget stalemate during the course of normal school district audits.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Medicaid expansion moves into completion phase

Department of Human Services Sec. Ted Dallas Tuesday announced the end of the transition from Healthy PA to traditional Medicaid expansion—known as HealthChoices in Pennsylvania—as the last of the expansion insurance plans took effect.

According to Sec. Dallas, 440,000 Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Medicaid expansion insurance plans with the last group of enrollees coming out of Healthy PA’s primary coverage options into Medicaid expansion.

“With that last group of folks moving over, the Medicaid expansion is now complete,” Sec. Dallas told reporters.

He added with the full transition now complete, Pennsylvania is eligible for more federal funding and will realize a savings of $626 million from people moving off of state-funded care to fully federally funded Medicaid expansion.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

First strike against ethanol moving through the General Assembly

A bill making its way through the General Assembly would end the state requirement for ethanol blending with gasoline.

House Bill 471 passed out of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee earlier this session and is awaiting action in the House Appropriations Committee.

“This just get rids of an unnecessary mandate that hasn’t really worked out,” said Rep. Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland), one of the sponsors of the legislation.

He said the blending requirement came out of the early 2000s, a time when there appeared to be a fossil fuel shortage and prior to the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation and the large influx of technology like electric vehicles.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Online voter registration comes to Pennsylvania

Online voter registration comes to Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes announced Thursday that the administration has made a policy change and has developed an online voter registration system.

The online system, which is available at register.votespa.com, is live and available for use as of Thursday morning.

Gov. Wolf said the new online voter registration system is an example of government that works and democracy that works.

“It’s about efficiency and accuracy, for counties especially, it’s about cost savings,” he said. “That’s a real thing for citizens, for taxpayers, to make sure that exercising the responsibilities of citizenship can be done efficiently and securely.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf: Changing GOP pension plan savings numbers throw entire plan into doubt

Gov. Wolf: Changing GOP pension plan savings numbers throw entire plan into doubt

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday said he is likely to have an answer next week for legislative Republican leadership with regard to their offer of $400 million for basic education funding in exchange for the governor’s agreement on a defined contribution pension plan for new employees.

However, he said the changing savings numbers discussed by Republicans at the last negotiating session earlier this week left him with doubts concerning whether the plan is the right way to go.

Thursday, August 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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