Gov. Wolf vetoes pension reform bill as budget stalemate rhetoric intensifies

Gov. Wolf vetoes pension reform bill as budget stalemate rhetoric intensifies

Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday vetoed the General Assembly-passed pension reform plan as rhetoric from both sides intensified and Pennsylvania’s budget stalemate entered its ninth day.

In vetoing the pension reform bill—which would have moved new state and public school hires into a hybrid cash-balance and 401(k)-like pension plan—Gov. Wolf said there were portions of the legislation he could support, but the plan would hinder the Commonwealth’s ability to attract new, highly qualified employees.

“I understand the need for pension reform, but this legislation provides no immediate cost savings to taxpayers and does not maximize long-term savings for taxpayers. We need pension reform that works," he said in a statement on the veto. "There are provisions within this legislation, which as part of a comprehensive pension proposal I could support; however, Senate Bill 1 does not address the problems facing our pension system comprehensively and fairly."

Gov. Wolf advocated for his pension plan, which he said would save $17 billion for the current retirement system and reduce the $700 million paid in management fees.

Thursday, July 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Wolf vs. Corman and a mid-week budget update

A day following a sit-down meeting with Gov. Wolf and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) where Sen. Corman told reporters that Republicans will not support broad-based tax increases proposed by the governor, Gov. Wolf’s press secretary called the senator’s viewpoints one of political expediency.

"The refusal by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Republican leaders to accept basic math and acknowledge Pennsylvania’s massive structural budget deficit is the sole obstacle preventing budget talks from moving forward," Jeff Sheridan said in an email to interested parties.

"Strangely, today’s Sen. Corman doesn’t agree with the Sen. Corman of the past. Sen. Corman’s leadership title seems to have shifted his ideals on budgeting and financial planning."

The email uses quotes from media reports showing Sen. Corman in the past has said some tax increases would be necessary to fill budget needs and would’ve been supported by Senate Republicans in the last budget cycle.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Hughes discusses latest on budget talks

VIDEO: Hughes discusses latest on budget talks

The Democratic Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Vince Hughes discusses the latest in budget negotiations. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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“Shuttle diplomacy” being used to find a budget solution

“Shuttle diplomacy” being used to find a budget solution

A week to the day after Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a Republican-crafted FY 2015-2016 spending plan, the use of “shuttle diplomacy” has been used as the key force to move budget negotiations further as another face-to-face meeting between the governor and Republican leadership failed to make any significant progress toward a budget agreement.

“There’s both a formal and an informal process,” said House Democratic Whip Mike Hanna (D-Centre).

“The formal process you receive notice of meetings that have been scheduled…a lot of the formal process involves high-level staff looking at the various proposals, looking at what we can agree to and what we do disagree about, and hopefully that will refine things where we can focus on what we need to resolve to make this deal work.”

However, he said the informal process can sometimes be more productive in resolving big ticket items.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Hanna discusses his take on budget talks

Hanna discusses his take on budget talks

House Minority Whip Mike Hanna sat down with The PLS Reporter to discuss the latest in budget negotiations. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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