As budget impasse drags on, school districts miss $1 billion state subsidy payment

As Pennsylvania’s budget impasse nears the two-month mark, a recent report by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials noted school districts Thursday did not receive a scheduled $1.18 billion state subsidy payment as a result of the stalemate.

Of the 171 respondents to the PASBO survey, 83 percent said they are using fund balances to make ends meet in the absence of state funding while half said they have used or have considered using borrowing to ensure continued cash flow.

Thursday, August 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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Cancelled budget meeting blasted by House GOP leadership

Cancelled budget meeting blasted by House GOP leadership

Call it cancelled or postponed, Wednesday’s previously scheduled 1:00 p.m. meeting to discuss the state budget and the GOP offered pension-for-basic education funding proposal was nixed by Gov. Tom Wolf just hours before it was supposed to begin.

While Wolf spokesperson Jeff Sheridan in an email to The PLS Reporter said the meeting has been merely postponed, House GOP leaders speaking to the press Wednesday morning said the meeting was cancelled and not expected to be rescheduled anytime this week.

“Certainly, we’re a little bit concerned about that,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “The governor has had our proposal for a little over a week, it’s time to get a response to that proposal.”

Rep. Reed said that response could have come in any number of ways, even in the form of a counterproposal.

“The response could even be: ‘We’re not fully supportive of that pension proposal, we have some tweaks we want to make to it, we’re willing to change our education number accordingly’,” he said.

This represents a decided change in tone from last week's take-it-or-leave-it rhetoric by Republicans following the initial proffer of the plan.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Coalition pushes lawmakers to get serious about negotiations

VIDEO: Coalition pushes lawmakers to get serious about negotiations

A coalition of human services and budget groups held a press conference in the Main Capitol Rotunda this morning to push the legislature to pass a sustainable budget. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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House GOP veto override attempts fall short

A move by the House Republican Caucus to attempt to override certain line-items of Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a GOP-crafted, June-passed budget plan fell short Tuesday.

The caucus brought up line items related to funding rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, school food service, and other education, social service and human services line items.

While debates on the merits boiled down to Republicans urging support for the override votes to help get money to centers that are struggling to make ends meet during the budget impasse, Democrats argued the override attempts were unconstitutional and offers of necessary help were just a ploy.

“We will fight for additional funding for rape crisis centers to make sure they have adequate funding to do their job,” said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) during the floor debate Tuesday. “We will not support an override of a veto…this is nothing but a scam and you know it. It’s a stunt and it’s about time you get called on it."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

A meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican and Democratic leaders from both chambers broke up Tuesday afternoon with the governor saying he needs more time to evaluate the GOP’s pension plan and Republican members of the House still intent on overriding certain line-items of their June-passed budget.

“[The governor] said he needed 24 more hours, so we’ll wait 24 hours and hopefully he’ll give us an answer tomorrow,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) upon leaving the meeting. “He had some questions, but obviously he didn’t want to do it today. I think it had more to do with the veto override that they’re planning in the House and he has questions.”

Gov. Wolf said the questions he has surround what the savings are going to be, which he said seems to change depending on who in the meeting was answering the questions.

“It was just a little confusing to me,” he said while noting he is still in the process of considering the plan.

“I need to understand the offer. I’m still working on it. We got some more information yesterday. I asked questions today and some of the answers were there and I need to get more answers,” he added.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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