Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

A meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican and Democratic leaders from both chambers broke up Tuesday afternoon with the governor saying he needs more time to evaluate the GOP’s pension plan and Republican members of the House still intent on overriding certain line-items of their June-passed budget.

“[The governor] said he needed 24 more hours, so we’ll wait 24 hours and hopefully he’ll give us an answer tomorrow,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) upon leaving the meeting. “He had some questions, but obviously he didn’t want to do it today. I think it had more to do with the veto override that they’re planning in the House and he has questions.”

Gov. Wolf said the questions he has surround what the savings are going to be, which he said seems to change depending on who in the meeting was answering the questions.

“It was just a little confusing to me,” he said while noting he is still in the process of considering the plan.

“I need to understand the offer. I’m still working on it. We got some more information yesterday. I asked questions today and some of the answers were there and I need to get more answers,” he added.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Republicans offer governor’s desired education funding for modified pension reform plan

Republicans offer governor’s desired education funding for modified pension reform plan

Wednesday, Republican legislative leaders offered Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic legislative leaders their desired education funding level in exchange for a revised defined contribution pension reform plan.

If the offer is accepted by Gov. Wolf and Democrats, it would mark the largest step forward in Pennsylvania’s now seven week-long budget stalemate.

According to top Republican leaders from the Senate and the House who spoke following Wednesday’s negotiating session, Republicans would find a way to fund an additional $300 million in education funding above the $100 million in new investment in the budget passed on June 30 if the governor would agree to a pension reform bill that looks largely like the defined contribution plan in Senate Bill 1, but with some modifications.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) laid out some of the more major modifications to the pension reform plan, including a 16 percent employer contribution, removing legal issues brought up by Gov. Wolf in his veto message, as well as including a one percent employer contribution to the cash balance side of the plan.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Amorphous progress reported by budget negotiators after pension meeting

Amorphous progress reported by budget negotiators after pension meeting

While it may just be a feeling, legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf again touted progress toward reaching a pension deal following a Thursday negotiating session on the topic.

“We had a good conversation, we’re making some progress on two really important issues: the pensions and education,” said Gov. Wolf. “We obviously have differences…but I think we had a good conversation, good discussion.”

House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) noted that while pension reform and education funding are two items the negotiators have focused on over the last two days as necessary components of the final budget, differences still exist in those areas.

“We’re still working through those differences, we’re hoping to do so in a timely fashion because there are a number of other issues that need to come to the table before we can have a final budget agreement,” he told reporters.

Thursday, August 13, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Budget negotiations forge ahead with new proposals coming on pension reform, education funding

Budget negotiations forge ahead with new proposals coming on pension reform, education funding

Top legislative leaders from the four legislative caucuses met with Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday afternoon to discuss matters related to resolving Pennsylvania’s seven-week old budget stalemate and left the meeting to review new proposals offered by the administration dealing with pension reform and education funding.

The negotiators will meet again Thursday morning to discuss the new plans and see if they can find a way to forge ahead and agree to a spending plan.

“I think we made some progress,” Gov. Wolf said about the Wednesday meeting. “We’re going to get together at 10:00 tomorrow morning, we have some information [Budget Sec. Randy Albright] is going to be presenting to the leaders, both parties, so we can have a continuation of this tomorrow.”

While the governor stopped short of saying there was any sort of a breakthrough in negotiations, he remained optimistic saying again, “We made progress."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House Majority Leader opens door to Kane impeachment

House Majority Leader opens door to Kane impeachment

A statement released Friday by House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) calling for Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign left open the possibility of impeachment of the state’s top law enforcement officer if she refuses to step aside.

“It is time Attorney General Kane puts the interests of the people of Pennsylvania before her own. It is time for Ms. Kane to step aside," Rep. Reed said in Friday's news release. “We will be closely monitoring the case as it moves through the courts and weighing our options as a legislative body if there is no other action taken to remove her from office.”

He argued the gravity of the charges brought against Kane—which include obstruction of law, perjury, and official oppression—cannot be understated.

“The multiple allegations of misusing the office – which is directly related to the performance of her duties as Pennsylvania’s chief law enforcement officer – raise serious concerns about her ability to continue to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth, and make it virtually impossible for her to function in her current position," he said.

Friday, August 7, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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