Gov. Wolf to veto entire GOP-crafted budget, calls proposal “a mess”

Gov. Wolf to veto entire GOP-crafted budget, calls proposal “a mess”

Shortly after Republicans were praising the historic and substantial nature of passing pension reform, liquor privatization, and a no-tax increase $30.2 billion budget, Gov. Tom Wolf put the brakes on the spending plan, announcing he intends to veto the proposal in its entirety.

“It’s what I feared, this is a budget that absolutely doesn’t work,” said Gov. Wolf in announcing his intention to veto the entire proposal. “The math doesn’t work, it doesn’t address the challenges Pennsylvania faces.”

Gov. Wolf also argued the budget is not balanced and will lead Pennsylvania to face a $3 billion deficit for the FY 2016-2017 budget.

He called the proposal “a mess.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
What does a veto say?

What does a veto say?

As the new fiscal year is likely to begin without a fully enacted budget, The PLS Reporter caught up with Republican leaders to talk about what they see as the likely scenario for how a veto is likely to play out and what it means.

“If he does veto any aspects of these bills we’re sending him, what he’s really saying is: ‘I want to increase your taxes’,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson). “That’s the message people don’t want to say, but what they’re saying is that if you’re not for this I just want to increase your taxes.”

He said that message doesn’t pass “the red face test.”

Sen. Scarnati stated the General Assembly is sending the governor a no-tax-increase budget along with a pension reform plan that provides significant savings and a liquor privatization plan that gives Pennsylvania consumers the convenience they ask for while getting the state out of the liquor business.

“I absolutely believe that the proposals that we’re sending are true, good proposals for the taxpayers and voters of Pennsylvania,” he added. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Scarnati gives latest on budget proposal

VIDEO: Scarnati gives latest on budget proposal

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati caught up with The PLS Reporter on the latest with the state budget proposal. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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As liquor bill moves forward, debate continues over value of privatization vs. modernization

As House Bill 466 continues to work its way through the Senate on its way to final passage and eventually Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk by end of legislative business Tuesday, debate in the Senate Appropriations Committee moved somewhat away from the cause of displaced workers and centered around whether Pennsylvania is undervaluing the current system by selling the asset without first working toward modernization.

Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) said now is not the time to sell off the state-owned system.

“We do not have to sell off this asset,” he said. “It’s one of the few we have left.”

He said while changes to the system have to be made to increase profitability, it’s not the time to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Monday, June 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Compromise pension reform plan saves $7 billion less than original proposal

Compromise pension reform plan saves $7 billion less than original proposal

According to an actuarial note approved by the Public Employee Retirement Commission, the compromise version of the Senate Bill 1 pension reform currently under consideration in the House of Representatives would save around $7 billion less than the proposal that passed the Senate.

In describing the amended version, which won approval in a controversial House State Government Committee meeting that saw Democrats walk out of the meeting rather than vote on the proposal after they brought up concerns related to the process by which the vote was being called, PERC executive director James McAneny said most of the lost savings come from eliminating the Act 9 of 2001 rollbacks for PSERS members.

There, he noted, the amended version of Senate Bill 1 will result in $7.9 billion less in savings than the legislation as first introduced.

On the other hand, it was noted, bolstered by about $4 billion in savings from eliminating the “fresh start” provisions, SERS will see an increased savings of about $713 million.

Monday, June 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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