Gov. Wolf taps gas executive for PUC post

Gov. Tom Wolf Monday announced he has nominated Andrew Place, corporate director for energy and environmental policy at EQT Corporation, to the Public Utilities Commission.

He will take the spot vacated by PUC Commissioner James Cawley, who is departing the commission after serving for nearly two decades of combined service, a portion of that time spent as chairman.

Monday, May 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

McGinty fires back at natural gas industry’s “distractions and distortions” over severance tax

During Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon, Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff, Katie McGinty, took issue with what she called “distractions and distortions” proffered by the natural gas industry in opposition to the natural gas severance tax proposed by Gov. Wolf.

She particularly took issue with claims made by the industry that the severance tax would not be profitable due to the low price of natural gas and the tax would unfairly hurt the industry’s ability to thrive in Pennsylvania by hurting profits.

Monday, May 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

House property tax reform plan passes key House floor vote

Tuesday, the House approved a measure by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) that would raise Pennsylvania’s income and sales tax while providing dollar-for-dollar property tax reduction.

The proposal was adopted as an amendment to Rep. Matt Gabler’s (R-Elk) House Bill 504 by a 109 to 86 vote that crossed party lines.

The proposal calls for increasing Pennsylvania’s personal income tax by 0.63 percent to 3.7 percent while raising the sales and use tax a full percentage point to seven percent in order to earn an estimated $5 billion in additional revenue to be dedicated to property tax relief. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
ACA health care exchange navigator regulation bill advances through House committee

ACA health care exchange navigator regulation bill advances through House committee

A bill aimed at regulating federal Affordable Care Act insurance exchange navigators cleared the House Finance Committee Monday on its way to final passage.

Senate Bill 293 by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) would require that navigators undergo criminal background checks and be registered with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Monday, May 11, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate pension bill’s advance pits plan change vs. plan reform

Senate pension bill’s advance pits plan change vs. plan reform

Senate Bill 1 underwent its first vote Monday, moving out of the Senate Finance Committee along a party-line vote.

The prime sponsor of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre), said the legislation is needed to ease budgetary pressures and take risk away from taxpayers into the future by moving new employees to a defined contribution pension plan and away from the defined benefit plan.

The plan will also alter future benefits of current employees by either increasing their contribution amounts to maintain Act 9-levels or roll back the pension benefit to pre-Act 9 levels.

“By doing this, this will reduce the liability of the system significantly as well as provide new revenue for the system which is tremendously needed,” he said. “At the end of the day, what we are doing is achieving some immediate savings and also putting ourselves in a much more predictable system for the taxpayers in the out years by reducing the risk.”

Monday, May 11, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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