Surprise budget hits governor’s desk, but it faces an uncertain future

Surprise budget hits governor’s desk, but it faces an uncertain future

Once all hope was lost Wednesday after the House abruptly adjourned to send their members on six-hour call while they awaited a pension and tax plan to support a $30.788 billion budget their chamber was ready to pass, the Senate surprised onlookers by taking up a previously-passed House budget ringing in at $30.25 billion and sent it to the governor for his consideration.

Without yet-to-be passed nonpreferred appropriations included in the final spend number, the bill sent to the governor’s desk rings in at around $29.7 billion, which was said by senators Wednesday to meet available funds.

Regardless of whether the governor signs, vetoes, or line-item vetoes the bill, both sides in the Senate conceded Wednesday that the passage of the bill does not represent the five-party agreement reached before Thanksgiving and still marks a beginning point for reaching agreement on a pension reform and revenue bill that can support the $30.788 billion budget plan.

“It’s not the end of the process, but in December it’s part of it, we can get done and we can get schools funded, and we can continue to have discussions on a variety of things,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) after Wednesday’s vote. “At least it’s something the governor can sign and at least get the money out."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Hanna: "We can get a budget done, we can get it done today"

VIDEO: Hanna: "We can get a budget done, we can get it done today"

House Minority Whip Mike Hanna and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody express their views on the budget. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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VIDEO: House Republican leaders give update on budget

VIDEO: House Republican leaders give update on budget

Speaker Mike Turzai and Majority Leader Dave Reed announce that there will be no budget vote on the House floor and that all members are on six-hour call. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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VIDEO: Scarnati: "There will be no new revenue unless there is our pension bill sent to the governor to sign, and we have not seen that"

VIDEO: Scarnati: "There will be no new revenue unless there is our pension bill sent to the governor to sign, and we have not seen that"

After a Wednesday morning meeting with House Republican leaders, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati gives a brief budget update. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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Reed: “We have to wait and see what the Senate does tomorrow” before House will take up budget bill

Reed: “We have to wait and see what the Senate does tomorrow” before House will take up budget bill

As the latest chapter in Pennsylvania’s 175-day long budget saga continued to unfold on the Tuesday before Christmas, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) gave pause to some optimistic the plan could land on the governor’s desk by Wednesday, saying the chamber will not call up the $30.788 billion budget bill without agreement on a pension and tax bill first.

“We’re waiting to hear form the Senate whether they have an agreement on pension with the administration and the House Democrats and we still have not seen a Tax Code bill to pay for that General Appropriations bill, so as soon as we see those products from the Senate, we are ready to move forward,” he said. “If the Senate’s prepared with those products ready to go and has agreement ready to go, as soon as they give them to us, we’re ready to go to.”

According to Rep. Reed, the rationale behind holding up the spending bill is that it would be unconstitutional for the governor so sign a spending plan that is out of balance.

“We can’t send a budget bill to the governor without the Tax Code bill to pay for it, the governor’s not legally able to sign that bill, so we do need that to be able to send the budget bill to the governor,” he explained. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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