Budget impasse could maybe, possibly, perhaps be over this weekend

Budget impasse could maybe, possibly, perhaps be over this weekend

Hopes were higher than ever among some at Pennsylvania’s Capitol Friday with the news that Gov. Tom Wolf secured enough votes in both chambers to pass a revenue package that will fund the $30.8 billion budget plan agreed-to as part of the framework announced just before Thanksgiving.

"We are confident we have the votes to pass a revenue package," said Gov. Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan. "We look forward to bringing this impasse to an end so we can fund our schools, balance the budget, begin to fix our deficit and move Pennsylvania forward."

Sheridan could not confirm the number of Republican or Democratic votes in the House—the chamber with the largest question mark in terms of tax increase support—that will be used to get a majority in the chamber.

Friday, December 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Adolph on passing the budget: "You never know about votes until you see them on the scoreboard"

VIDEO: Adolph on passing the budget: "You never know about votes until you see them on the scoreboard"

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) and Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) give a brief budget update after Friday's meeting. 

Friday, December 18, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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PERC on pension reform bill: “This really isn’t a big savings bill, it is a bill that shifts the risk away from the taxpayers”

PERC on pension reform bill: “This really isn’t a big savings bill, it is a bill that shifts the risk away from the taxpayers”

The Capitol’s “will they or won’t they” saga concerning whether the Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) would be allowed to attach an actuarial note to the latest iteration of a pension reform proposal came to a conclusion Thursday when the commission did just that in an afternoon meeting.

During the meeting, it was noted that Senate Bill 1082—which was largely amended into Senate Bill 1071 by the House State Government Committee on Tuesday—would save between $1.797 billion and $3.36 billion depending on which version was finally enacted and which factors were used in calculations.

If a drafting error in the legislation is corrected by a proposed amendment, the amount of those savings could decrease by either $630 million or 50 percent depending on how the effect is calculated.

“This really isn’t a big savings bill, it is a bill that shifts the risk away from the taxpayers,” said PERC executive director Jim McAneny of the proposal that would create a side-by-side hybrid pension plan for state and public school employees.

Thursday, December 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Latest budget deadline passes with little fanfare, leaves many questions

Latest budget deadline passes with little fanfare, leaves many questions

The deadline set by House Republican leaders for 12:30 p.m. on Thursday for Gov. Tom Wolf to prove to them he has the votes to get the revenue for the $30.788 billion budget agreed-to as part of the five-party budget framework came and went without much fanfare, but many House members were left with questions about what the final revenue package would entail.

Despite the stern message sent by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) Wednesday night that if the governor did not come up with the votes the legislature would move forward with some sort of a stopgap budget, the Wolf administration Thursday morning said they were not fazed.

“It’s not something we’re taking seriously,” said Wolf administration spokesperson Jeff Sheridan of what he called an “artificial” deadline.

Reached later in the day, Sheridan said the governor had not met with House Republican leaders as of late afternoon Thursday and he is still meeting with rank-and-file members.

Thursday, December 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House GOP members have “significant concerns” with budget framework revenue package

House GOP members have “significant concerns” with budget framework revenue package

House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) doubled down on their earlier statements that they’re leaving it to the Wolf administration to woe 102 members of the House to vote for a revenue plan to support the $30.788 billion spending plan as part of the on again, off again agreed-to budget framework.

“The governor, we all know, has to come up with the 102 tax votes if he wants this budget passed,” said Rep. Turzai in a brief press availability Wednesday evening following a closed-door Republican caucus on the revenue plan. “The hold out for all these days has been, really, what is the tax component and where are these tax votes and does he have enough in our chamber.”

He noted that the governor has “significant influence” in the Democratic caucus and “has the opportunity talk to any Republican he wants to” in his effort to gain a majority of votes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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