Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

The first step for the Senate in the continued movement of a Republican crafted FY 2015-2016 spending plan saw the legislation move out of the Senate Appropriations Committee along a straight party-line vote Sunday evening.

However, the committee action was permeated with debate over education funding after committee Minority Chairman Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) offered an amendment to fund education at the level proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

It was the second of three amendments Sen. Hughes offered to the budget bill.

“To say that the education investment proposal in House Bill 1192 is reflective of the needs and concerns of the people of the Commonwealth really does not make sense,” he said. “It shows folks are out of touch with what’s going on in the community.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Are budget stakeholders being told to prepare for a budget impasse?

Are budget stakeholders being told to prepare for a budget impasse?

As the July 1 start to the FY 2015-2016 is fast approaching and the possibility of a veto from Gov. Tom Wolf for a Republican-crafted budget plan looms, are lawmakers telling those that rely on state budget dollars to prepare for a long-term budget stalemate?

It depends on who one asks.

Sunday, June 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Liquor privatization plan to include leasing of wholesale system, eventual divestiture of retail stores

The Senate Law and Justice Committee is poised Sunday to vote on a compromise liquor privatization plan. During a Sunday afternoon briefing with reporters, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) gave some details about the plan expected to emerge in full on Sunday.

“It’s my understanding that it will contain leasing the wholesale component to our current liquor system and then divesting completely out of the retail side of the business,” he said.

He said the phase-out of the retail market will be “gradual” and take “a couple of years to occur.”

Friday, legislative Republican leaders said the budget they’ve come to an agreement to without the governor includes $220 million from the privatization of state liquor stores.

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Other pension plan sponsors support compromise Senate Bill 1 proposal

Other pension plan sponsors support compromise Senate Bill 1 proposal

While the House is considering a compromise pension reform plan embodied in Senate Bill 1, House sponsors of some of the other pension plans that have received a lot of House attention are in support of the plan though it is not their own.

“I think it’s a good bill,” said Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) whose House Bill 727 was voted out of the House State Government Committee earlier this session and has awaited Floor action since.

“The main feature—from my perspective—is that we’re going to have a defined contribution plan, a 401(k)-like plan for future hires,” he added, also noting he feels the changes to current employee benefits remaining in the legislation are “reasonable.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Legislative leaders spin House-passed budget

The House of Representatives Saturday afternoon passed a GOP crafted $30.1 billion budget plan that does not include any of the three main priorities of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House passed FY 2015-2016 spending plan worked its way through the chamber by a 112-77 vote with two Republicans, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) and Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair), joining Democrats in opposing the plan.

Following the vote, leaders from both parties visited with reporters to discuss the spending plan.

“I think the key components to this budget are that it’s balanced with no new taxes going forward into the next fiscal year; we not only meet our current obligations as far as funding core functions of government, but we also include over $200 million worth of new spending related to education items in the budget,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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