Senate Republicans continue questioning governor’s liquor, pension proposals

Two days after Gov. Tom Wolf proposed making changes to Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor system and public pension systems, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said his caucus is still reviewing the proposal and coming up with more questions.

“The trickiest part right now is getting a handle on what the liquor proposal is,” he said Friday, noting his caucus only received in writing the same information given to the press by the administration. “Particularly in liquor, that’s really, really open-ended.”

He said while the proposal could be good, it could also be disguised as something else.

“Before we can make any kind of assessment on whether it’s acceptable or not, we probably have to get more questions answered,” he added. “So we are putting together some questions [for the administration], so that hopefully they can clarify for us."

Friday, September 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Gov. Wolf recalls potentially contentious executive nominations

Avoiding what could have potentially been a defeat of 17 executive nominations on the Senate floor Friday, Senate Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf reached an agreement that had the governor recall the nominations to continue discussions and reset the clock during which the nominations can be considered.

Most of the nominations were on the second-to-last day by which they must have been considered by the Senate before being automatically confirmed.

The decision came after what Senate Republicans called a “positive” meeting with Gov. Wolf regarding the situation.

“We wanted more time to put a bigger package together, the governor was gracious enough to do that and we’ll put a bigger package together and hopefully be able to get it done in the next couple of week,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said following Friday’s floor session. “It was nice to finally work something together to get it done."

Friday, September 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Stop-gap budget clears Senate despite governor’s vowed veto

As expected Friday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a short-term spending plan along party lines, putting the measure in a position to be acted on by the House when that chamber returns to session next week.

Gov. Tom Wolf earlier in the week vowed to veto the measure, which would provide over $11 billion in state spending for a four month period retroactive to July 1. The bill would have also provided around $29 billion in full year federal funding for programs receiving those dollars.

Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) told members on the floor that the passing of the plan was a “reasonable and necessary choice” given the currently stalled state of budget negotiations.

“We must be willing to utilize every strategy, leverage every tool we have at our disposal,” he said of the need to get funding to schools, social service organizations, and local governments depending on the state funds.

Friday, September 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Much ado about executive nominations?

Despite unanimous committee approval of a slate of nominations made by Gov. Tom Wolf as part of a supposed understanding with Senate Republicans earlier this year, top Democrats expressed some concern Thursday that the nominations’ committee passage was just a precursor to them being voted down on the floor Friday.

“I understand that there is some disagreement about that agreement and I think that why we are here today is that you are going to…take them to the floor and vote them down,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) told Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) during the meeting.

Sen. Corman told Sen. Costa that the nominations would be moved from committee and then receive a full vote on the Senate floor Friday.

Thursday, September 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Republicans still mulling Gov. Wolf’s pension, liquor reform proposals

Republicans still mulling Gov. Wolf’s pension, liquor reform proposals

Despite contentions made by Gov. Tom Wolf to the contrary, Republicans claimed Thursday that they have not rejected the pension and liquor reform proposals made by Gov. Wolf at a budget meeting yesterday.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) told reporters he has not seen the proposals in writing so that he can discuss them fully with members of his caucus.

Wednesday, in response to Republican criticism over Gov. Wolf not accepting their offer for basic education funding proposal in exchange for pension reform, the governor held a news conference where he relayed that he put on the table new proposals to provide for pension reform and to allow the state liquor system to be run by a private manager.

Thursday, September 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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