WATCH: Grove discusses Gov. Wolf's proposed budget

WATCH: Grove discusses Gov. Wolf's proposed budget

After Budget Sec. Randy Albright answered questions about Gov. Wolf's proposed budget before the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) discussed his take-away from the hearing. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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As House budget hearings end, Appropriations members offer thoughts

As House budget hearings end, Appropriations members offer thoughts

Thursday marked the end of the three-week House Appropriations Committee budget hearing process where committee members and other interested Representatives heard from nearly every facet of state government receiving funding in the coming fiscal year’s budget.

The PLS Reporter caught up with a few of the committee’s member to get their thoughts on the budget hearing process and what they think will happen with Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget going forward.

“Generally, it’s a lot of what we expected,” said Rep. Seth Grove (R-York). “Not a lot of answers on specifics, they kept it at ‘it’s a comprehensive plan,’ which kind of triggers ‘we want everything and we’re not willing to negotiate,’ which is very bad moving forward meaning it’s either this or nothing.”

In the end, he said, more questions remain.

Thursday, March 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

School district administrative consolidation bill draws mixed views

Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fayette) is taking his long-running idea of consolidating school district administrative functions at the county level and turning it into legislation with his recently introduced House Bill 840.

According to Rep. Mahoney, while each school will still retain its individual identity, there would be one county-level school board.

He said he is introducing the legislation to help the educational process, save school districts money, and reduce property taxes and noted a study he conducted four years ago in Fayette County showed there stands to be a conservative estimate of $20 million in savings at the county level.

“It drives for education first,” he said. “It will save cost on the duplication of services, duplication of curriculum, bus contracts, food contracts…and it would eliminate a lot of administrative overload.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

From lawmaker to lobbyist: the how and why

In what is seen by many as a natural career transition from the legislature to the lobbying field (also known as government relations), former lawmakers can be seen throughout the Capitol on session days working lines of access with former colleagues and new acquaintances.

How do these former elected officials get to where they are now? Why do they do it?

Under Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act, former legislators are precluded from lobbying the General Assembly for a period of one year following their end of service.

The Act states, “No former public official/public employee may represent a person, with promised or actual compensation, before the governmental body with which he has been associated for one year after he leaves that body.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Fixing pensions: varied opinions with common threads

Fixing pensions: varied opinions with common threads

A House hearing Tuesday brought together experts from academia, actuarial firms, public sector employee unions, and pension management firms to discuss what needs to be done to fix the Commonwealth’s looming—if not present—pension problem.

While all the different testifiers brought their unique perspectives to the issue—especially as to whether a change in pension benefit plan design is needed—one common thread was found among all who spoke on the issue: the Commonwealth’s unfunded pension liability will not disappear without more money being thrown at the problem.

“A plan design change is not enough to deal with the unfunded liability,” said House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), whose committee convened Tuesday’s hearing.

“We have to bite the bullet and deal with the current underfunding. There’s no easy answer,” he told The PLS Reporter

Tuesday, March 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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