With stopgap budget vetoed, negotiators resume pointing fingers for failed budget agreement

Gov. Tom Wolf didn’t offer any surprises Tuesday as he followed through on his promise to veto the stopgap budget plan passed by the Republican controlled General Assembly.

Gov. Wolf said he vetoed the bills as soon as they were delivered to him on Tuesday.

“All of us want a budget, we don’t want stopgaps, we don’t want continuing resolutions, Pennsylvanians deserve a budget and one that actually works and funds schools,” he told a small gaggle of reporters awaiting his exit from the Capitol Tuesday afternoon.

“If we don’t do this right, we’re going to have a $3 billion deficit next year and we’re not going to be able to fund schools, we’re going to have huge cuts, and that’s not going to work."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale had one message for budget negotiators Tuesday: his office is watching.

“If you don’t get a budget deal done, the Auditor General is going to continue to hammer the lack of wasting money, not getting the deal done, and our kids are going to get hurt in the process,” he said.

The message came in a press conference where DePasquale announced that for the first time in the history of his office, the Department of Auditor General will be taking into account the costs being incurred by school districts as a result of the stalemate.

Accordingly, he said, his office is directing school district auditors to include an analysis of the cost of the budget stalemate during the course of normal school district audits.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Municipal pension reform work continues amid budget stalemate

Municipal pension reform work continues amid budget stalemate

Legislators sponsoring bills to reform municipal pensions are continuing their work to get to compromise legislation while others are focused on resolving the Commonwealth’s budget stalemate, which is now a month old.

While Senate Bill 755 and House Bill 316 moved out of their respective standing oversight committees earlier this summer, the bills received little attention neither in the immediate run-up and aftermath of the June 30th budget deadline nor in the subsequent session days in July.

According to Rep. Keith Grenier (R-Lancaster) and Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair)—sponsors of the aforementioned legislation—the two have been meeting to prepare amendments to the legislation they’ve offered that are largely in line with a task force report on the issue delivered by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year.

“There’s still quite a bit of action behind the scenes with this [and] we’ve actually been sitting down with some of the key parties,” said Rep. Greiner. “I think the key, kind of what we’re really looking at and focusing at, is Auditor General DePasquale’s task force report on municipal pensions.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Auditor General, legislators cast light on troubling PDE conduct

Auditor General, legislators cast light on troubling PDE conduct

During Thursday’s meeting with the House Republican Policy Committee, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told committee members he’s uncovered a number of troubling actions on the part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education while conducting his department’s yet-to-be-released audit.

“[There] is a culture in that agency that is not healthy for fostering good education outcomes,” he told the committee.

He said that his department’s audit will focus on, among other things, what PDE does to help school districts that are struggling academically, specifically on reporting.

“School districts are incredibly frustrated,” he added. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: News and Views
What’s to be done about municipal pension reform?

What’s to be done about municipal pension reform?

While many of the state’s top policymakers are focusing on reforming state and public school pension issues, others are sounding the alarm on another potential pension crisis: the one affecting Pennsylvania’s municipalities.

Back in January, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a press conference noting 562 of Pennsylvania’s municipalities have underfunded their pension plans to the extent that they are now in distressed status.

Monday, DePasquale was again bringing attention to the issue, holding a news conference with York Mayor Kim Bracey following the audit of that city’s pension system.

The audit revealed the city is $10 million behind in its pension obligation payments.

Monday, March 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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