Retirement commission muddles through despite legal sword of Damocles

Retirement commission muddles through despite legal sword of Damocles

The Public Employee Retirement Commission—the embattled panel responsible for municipal pension administration and reviewing proposed changes to state pension laws—held its first public meeting Thursday, despite attempts by Gov. Tom Wolf to defund its operations and spread its work throughout state government.

Thursday, March 17, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Budget impasse could maybe, possibly, perhaps be over this weekend

Budget impasse could maybe, possibly, perhaps be over this weekend

Hopes were higher than ever among some at Pennsylvania’s Capitol Friday with the news that Gov. Tom Wolf secured enough votes in both chambers to pass a revenue package that will fund the $30.8 billion budget plan agreed-to as part of the framework announced just before Thanksgiving.

"We are confident we have the votes to pass a revenue package," said Gov. Wolf's press secretary Jeff Sheridan. "We look forward to bringing this impasse to an end so we can fund our schools, balance the budget, begin to fix our deficit and move Pennsylvania forward."

Sheridan could not confirm the number of Republican or Democratic votes in the House—the chamber with the largest question mark in terms of tax increase support—that will be used to get a majority in the chamber.

Friday, December 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Latest budget deadline passes with little fanfare, leaves many questions

Latest budget deadline passes with little fanfare, leaves many questions

The deadline set by House Republican leaders for 12:30 p.m. on Thursday for Gov. Tom Wolf to prove to them he has the votes to get the revenue for the $30.788 billion budget agreed-to as part of the five-party budget framework came and went without much fanfare, but many House members were left with questions about what the final revenue package would entail.

Despite the stern message sent by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) Wednesday night that if the governor did not come up with the votes the legislature would move forward with some sort of a stopgap budget, the Wolf administration Thursday morning said they were not fazed.

“It’s not something we’re taking seriously,” said Wolf administration spokesperson Jeff Sheridan of what he called an “artificial” deadline.

Reached later in the day, Sheridan said the governor had not met with House Republican leaders as of late afternoon Thursday and he is still meeting with rank-and-file members.

Thursday, December 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

The Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday voted along party-lines to move along Senate Bill 1071, the pension reform legislative vehicle, while a compromise amendment continues to languish amid discussions and actuarial analysis.

The bill in its current form reflects Senate Bill 1 as vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in early July.

“It is the intent of the chair to advance this bill forward, given the time that we’re standing in the year and the lengthy process associated with providing for an amendment to the retirement codes, as a means to advance the process forward,” Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) told the committee Tuesday.

He said it is not the intent to advance the provisions of Senate Bill 1 again to the governor, but to use it as a vehicle for an amendment “that is being worked on now, that has been worked on for the last several months as a means to provide for an alternative plan design change, pension changes to be considered by the General Assembly.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
New pension reform bill could reshape the debate over system overhaul

New pension reform bill could reshape the debate over system overhaul

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill) is resurrecting his hybrid pension reform plan that was discussed at length last session, but failed to gain enough support to bring the concept up for a vote on the House floor.

He’s hoping that with the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1 and the vetting of a defined contribution pension reform plan that the time is ripe for this idea to clear the hurdles that were erected in front of his plan last session.

“After that bill in the last session had gone through the process of some agreed-to amendments, this is kind of the product that eventually came out of that effort,” Rep. Tobash told The PLS Reporter. “It’s the growing expectation of Pennsylvania citizens that we accomplish something in this regard.”

He said he hesitated to introduce the plan because multiple viable options would not be productive to the process.

“But with the veto of Senate Bill 1 and two bodies that have exhibited their ability to vote on meaningful pension reform, I think that alternative options at this point in time are helpful to the process,” he added. “It’s an important time to continue and further the conversation."

Thursday, August 6, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
RSS
123456