Corman: There is a “general consensus” that a personal income tax hike will not be part of the final budget

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said there is a “general consensus” that a personal income tax increase will not be part of the final budget plan as he left bipartisan meeting between legislative leaders Tuesday.

“That reduces the field significantly,” he said, noting “most people believe” that following last week’s House vote defeating  the governor’s revenue plan, which relied heavily on a PIT increase to raise revenue, such an increase will not make its way into a final budget plan.

“Once that’s gone, that reduces the differences significantly and we can move forward and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

Sen. Corman clarified, saying he can’t speak for the views of the administration and he won’t speak on behalf of legislative Democrats, “but I think they get it, that the votes aren’t there and we’re going to try to put a budget together without it."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Gov. Wolf: Potential gaming revenues not "end all, be all” of deficit fix

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday morning said while he is open to having discussions about potentially expanding gaming to bring in more revenue to state coffers, he said such revenue is not the “end all, be all” of the fix needed to end the state’s deficit.

The conversation happened in a scheduled appearance on KDKA 1020AM’s morning show.

“I think there are varying degrees on what that will provide, but I haven’t heard anybody say that’ll be the end all, be all to our budget deficit,” he said. “I’m open to a conversation on that and presume you can design it in such a way that it can bring in some revenues, but not enough to plug a $2 billion deficit.”

Gaming revenues were one area last week where Republican leaders and the governor said they might look to provide some income, though the exact nature of the package is not clear.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Substantial revenue can come from varied gaming options, oversight chairman says

One thing agreed to by budget negotiators after Wednesday’s “new reality” following the defeat of Gov. Tom Wolf’s revenue plan is that lawmakers are going to have to think outside the box in order to come up with revenue sources that can shift Pennsylvania away from its current trend of budget deficits.

A source listed by both parties as being on the table for potential revenue is gaming, where rumblings about expanded gaming options and state reforms to make casinos more profitable—and thereby a larger revenue source for the Commonwealth—have been going on for the last two fiscal years.

“[We] have talked about, and I think there’s bipartisan support for, increasing gaming revenues,” said House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) after Wednesday’s vote. “I know those are items people are looking for discussion on.”

When asked about gaming at a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Wolf said “these are all part of the options moving forward.”

“We have to be open to everything,” he said. “There is a recognition we have a big budget deficit we have to bridge.”

But where in gaming does that money come from and what do the revenues look like?

Thursday, October 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Budget Impasse Day 99: Sides see revenue plan rejection vote very differently

Budget Impasse Day 99: Sides see revenue plan rejection vote very differently

Maybe there was something in the air Wednesday.

While the House of Representatives spent nearly seven hours debating Gov. Tom Wolf’s revenue proposal, a prominent lobbyist and a Hollywood actor got into a heated verbal tussle.

Tensions that had been running high since last week when Republican leaders said they would give the governor free reign to try to get as many votes as he could for a revenue plan he would timely submit came to a head when that plan was defeated with 127 votes opposing the measure, including nine put up by Democratic lawmakers.

Following the vote, leaders from both parties responsible for negotiating the budget saw that final vote in dramatically different ways.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: "This vote actually gives us a real shot at balancing our budget" says Wolf after House votes down budget proposal

VIDEO: "This vote actually gives us a real shot at balancing our budget" says Wolf after House votes down budget proposal

Gov. Tom Wolf and House Democratic leadership held a press conference after the House defeated Wolf's budget proposal to discuss what they hope to do next. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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