House Gaming Chairman: PA must act soon to remain competitive

House Gaming Chairman: PA must act soon to remain competitive

House Gaming Control Committee Chairman John Payne (R-Dauphin) said Tuesday that while the commonwealth is not behind the curve in remaining competitive in the gaming industry, it must act soon lest the wave of change pass by Pennsylvania.

“We’re right there, we’re at the edge,” he said of the need to act. “Does it have to be today? No. We’re not talking five years from now. We’ll be on the wrong side of the ship. It’ll be upside down.”

He added the timeline could be as short as three years depending on what surrounding states like Ohio and Maryland do in terms of iGaming, fantasy sports betting, and other gaming expansion concepts noting Pennsylvania is “right where we need to do something.”

“Once you’re set up and you’ve got it regulated and you’re getting all the revenue from it and it’s a safe, secured site, you’re going to be a lot better bet to go to than one that doesn’t have it,” he said. “The casinos that have it are at a competitive advantage.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Questions arise about budget framework agreement as House moves legislative vehicle

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) spoke on KDKA 1020AM Tuesday afternoon and made remarks that call into question the ongoing validity of the budget framework that left many with hope of a break in the budget impasse. 

"Given the comments made by the governor's office late yesterday, the structural framework we thought we had for the budget seemingly does not exist," said Sen. Corman's spokesperson Jenn Kocher.

"We were clear that this was a broad framework and the mischaracterizations of the numbers indicates to us that we are not on the same track, contrary to what we once thought. It's obvious there are significant differences with the governor from the remarks yesterday."

The alleged mischaracterization Sen. Corman was referring to was a claim by Gov. Tom Wolf’s press secretary Jeff Sheridan that legislative Republicans agreed to increase basic education spending by $750 million over two years.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Wolf's press secretary talks education funding and budget framework

VIDEO: Wolf's press secretary talks education funding and budget framework

Gov. Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan discusses education and parts of budget framework with reporters in the Capitol newsroom. 

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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House leaders discuss tentative budget framework details

House leaders discuss tentative budget framework details

After a day of rampant budget framework agreement rumors, House leaders took to the Capitol newsroom where they briefed the press on some of the details of the tentative budget framework the five parties have been working from in recent negotiations, and which was taken to legislative caucuses Monday.

 

“We had a good discussion in caucus today on a general framework we’ve been discussing amongst the four caucuses and the administration for several weeks now,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “The framework will include a number of different issues, and obviously nothing is a deal until everything is signed into law, and there’s a lot of details to be worked out.”

 

Overall, Rep. Reed said, the framework addresses many of the policy initiatives being worked out over the last several months including education investments, property tax reform, pension reform, changes to Pennsylvania’s liquor system, and fixing the structural deficit.

 

One key piece Rep. Reed said was being considered is an increase in the sales tax from six percent to 7.25 percent that would raise around $2 billion and be dedicated to dollar-for-dollar property tax reductions.

 

In exchange, the current $600 million in slots revenue currently dedicated to the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program would be dedicated to the General Fund to pay for increases in pension costs.

 

The focus on the property tax reductions would be on homeowners and farmers, and not for businesses and others who are subject to the property tax.

 

“Certainly that’s been part of the discussion of dedicating a potential sales tax change to property tax reductions,” Rep. Reed stated. 

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf on budget: “I think we’re almost there”

Gov. Wolf on budget: “I think we’re almost there”

On a Monday afternoon radio appearance on 900AM WURD, Gov. Tom Wolf added fuel to budget agreement rumor fire saying “I think we’re almost there.”

“We’re still in very intense conversations and we won’t have a deal without historic education numbers and we’re going to have some property tax relief,” he said. “I’m very optimistic. We need something and we need it soon.”

As to whether the budget will be done by Thanksgiving, Gov. Wolf said he would not make any promises, but all sides are hoping to get the budget accomplished before the holiday.

“I think the optimism is called for in this case,” he said about how negotiations have been going. “I think there are really serious conversations, very serious conversations about specifics.”

Monday, November 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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