VIDEO: Wolf's press secretary talks education funding and budget framework

VIDEO: Wolf's press secretary talks education funding and budget framework

Gov. Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan discusses education and parts of budget framework with reporters in the Capitol newsroom. 

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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House leaders discuss tentative budget framework details

House leaders discuss tentative budget framework details

After a day of rampant budget framework agreement rumors, House leaders took to the Capitol newsroom where they briefed the press on some of the details of the tentative budget framework the five parties have been working from in recent negotiations, and which was taken to legislative caucuses Monday.

 

“We had a good discussion in caucus today on a general framework we’ve been discussing amongst the four caucuses and the administration for several weeks now,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “The framework will include a number of different issues, and obviously nothing is a deal until everything is signed into law, and there’s a lot of details to be worked out.”

 

Overall, Rep. Reed said, the framework addresses many of the policy initiatives being worked out over the last several months including education investments, property tax reform, pension reform, changes to Pennsylvania’s liquor system, and fixing the structural deficit.

 

One key piece Rep. Reed said was being considered is an increase in the sales tax from six percent to 7.25 percent that would raise around $2 billion and be dedicated to dollar-for-dollar property tax reductions.

 

In exchange, the current $600 million in slots revenue currently dedicated to the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program would be dedicated to the General Fund to pay for increases in pension costs.

 

The focus on the property tax reductions would be on homeowners and farmers, and not for businesses and others who are subject to the property tax.

 

“Certainly that’s been part of the discussion of dedicating a potential sales tax change to property tax reductions,” Rep. Reed stated. 

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf on budget: “I think we’re almost there”

Gov. Wolf on budget: “I think we’re almost there”

On a Monday afternoon radio appearance on 900AM WURD, Gov. Tom Wolf added fuel to budget agreement rumor fire saying “I think we’re almost there.”

“We’re still in very intense conversations and we won’t have a deal without historic education numbers and we’re going to have some property tax relief,” he said. “I’m very optimistic. We need something and we need it soon.”

As to whether the budget will be done by Thanksgiving, Gov. Wolf said he would not make any promises, but all sides are hoping to get the budget accomplished before the holiday.

“I think the optimism is called for in this case,” he said about how negotiations have been going. “I think there are really serious conversations, very serious conversations about specifics.”

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Coalition of casinos supports introduction of internet gaming, but with conditions

A coalition of the majority of Pennsylvania casinos from all three license categories said in a letter addressed to House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) that they support the introduction of internet gaming in Pennsylvania with certain other conditions.

The letter was made public as part of a House Gaming Oversight Committee hearing involving Category 3 resort license holders seeking changes to the way they are allowed to operate.

The seven casinos signing the letter purported to be "the definitive gaming coalition that has been formed to develop a singular position on internet gaming.”

The letter notes when it comes to internet gaming, “the industry needs to avoid the fate of other industries that have ignored the internet.”

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate’s Kane Committee hears from district attorneys on impact of AG’s license suspension, parallels in office function

Senate’s Kane Committee hears from district attorneys on impact of AG’s license suspension, parallels in office function

The Special Committee on Senate Address held its first public hearing Monday, hearing from three district attorneys as to how their offices have been impacted by the law license suspension of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, and how their office parallels in form and function with the Office of Attorney General.

The panel of district attorneys was made up of two Democrats and one Republican.

While Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler and Berks County District Attorney John Adams reported a minimal direct impact, Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser said her office is already dealing with an immediate and direct impact related to a joint drug task force her office is running with the Office of Attorney General.

“Their question is what do we do,” she said of the task force. “Do we suspend the investigation? Do we wait for the outcome, whatever decision is made?”

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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