School district administrative consolidation bill draws mixed views

Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fayette) is taking his long-running idea of consolidating school district administrative functions at the county level and turning it into legislation with his recently introduced House Bill 840.

According to Rep. Mahoney, while each school will still retain its individual identity, there would be one county-level school board.

He said he is introducing the legislation to help the educational process, save school districts money, and reduce property taxes and noted a study he conducted four years ago in Fayette County showed there stands to be a conservative estimate of $20 million in savings at the county level.

“It drives for education first,” he said. “It will save cost on the duplication of services, duplication of curriculum, bus contracts, food contracts…and it would eliminate a lot of administrative overload.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

From lawmaker to lobbyist: the how and why

In what is seen by many as a natural career transition from the legislature to the lobbying field (also known as government relations), former lawmakers can be seen throughout the Capitol on session days working lines of access with former colleagues and new acquaintances.

How do these former elected officials get to where they are now? Why do they do it?

Under Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act, former legislators are precluded from lobbying the General Assembly for a period of one year following their end of service.

The Act states, “No former public official/public employee may represent a person, with promised or actual compensation, before the governmental body with which he has been associated for one year after he leaves that body.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Fixing pensions: varied opinions with common threads

Fixing pensions: varied opinions with common threads

A House hearing Tuesday brought together experts from academia, actuarial firms, public sector employee unions, and pension management firms to discuss what needs to be done to fix the Commonwealth’s looming—if not present—pension problem.

While all the different testifiers brought their unique perspectives to the issue—especially as to whether a change in pension benefit plan design is needed—one common thread was found among all who spoke on the issue: the Commonwealth’s unfunded pension liability will not disappear without more money being thrown at the problem.

“A plan design change is not enough to deal with the unfunded liability,” said House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), whose committee convened Tuesday’s hearing.

“We have to bite the bullet and deal with the current underfunding. There’s no easy answer,” he told The PLS Reporter

Tuesday, March 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Kampf discusses another way to help fund Pennsylvania's pension systems

VIDEO: Kampf discusses another way to help fund Pennsylvania's pension systems

Following today's House State Government Committee public hearing on pension reform, Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) discussed another way to help the unfunded pension liability in the state. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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VIDEO: "It's going to be Groundhog's Day in Pennsylvania," says pension expert

VIDEO: "It's going to be Groundhog's Day in Pennsylvania," says pension expert

During a House State Government Committee public hearing on pension reform, Josh McGee, Senior Fellow of The Manhattan Institute gave two solutions to solving Pennsylvania's looming pension problem. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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