Reed: “That original framework has come and gone”

Reed: “That original framework has come and gone”

Providing more insight as to where House Republicans stand in terms of the budget after Gov. Tom Wolf announced his line-item vetoes Tuesday morning, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) reiterated his caucus’s position that if all of the broader policy considerations part of the five-party budget framework cannot be agreed to, then a pared down budget is what is necessary to get Pennsylvania through the current fiscal year.

“Two months ago now, we announced the framework of an agreement that included property tax reform, pension reform, liquor privatization, a balanced budget, and more money for education. The only thing left of that framework is higher taxes for more spending, everything else has fallen by the wayside for various reasons,” he said.

“The Senate wasn’t that thrilled about doing full privatization, the governor and House Democrats weren’t on board for pension reform, there were difficulties in finding a funding formula for property tax reductions and in the end, we as House Republicans, are just not accepting of increasing the sales tax or increasing the income tax for more spending.”

He added with all of that coming to a head last week, “it’s not a shot in the dark to say that original framework has come and gone.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf line-item vetoes budget he calls “an exercise in stupidity”

Gov. Wolf line-item vetoes budget he calls “an exercise in stupidity”

Gov. Tom Wolf today announced his decision to line-item veto House Bill 1460—the latest General Appropriations Act to land on his desk—saying the spending plan passed largely along Republican lines is “an exercise in stupidity.”

In blue-lining what amounted to a $29.7 billion budget once the yet-to-be passed nonpreferred appropriations were taken out, the governor’s final budget number lands at around $23 billion and provides only six months' worth of funding at House Bill 1460 levels for basic education, corrections, and Medical Assistance capitation, while also moving the legislature’s appropriations back to the Corbett-slashed FY 2014-2015 amounts.

The line-item veto also zeroes out a number of agricultural appropriations, but provides full House Bill 1460 funding for what was described as "about 90 percent" of all other lines.

In announcing his action Tuesday, Gov. Wolf was incensed that the legislature—failing to pass what has been described as a five-party budget framework with a budget total of $30.788 billion, including $600 million in tax increases for the current fiscal year—passed a lower-totaled budget and left for the holidays.

“I am expressing the outrage that all of us Pennsylvanians should feel about the garbage Republican legislative leaders have tried to dump on us,” he said. “This budget is wrong for Pennsylvania and our legislators—the folks we elected to serve us need to own up to this—they need to do their jobs."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Surprise budget hits governor’s desk, but it faces an uncertain future

Surprise budget hits governor’s desk, but it faces an uncertain future

Once all hope was lost Wednesday after the House abruptly adjourned to send their members on six-hour call while they awaited a pension and tax plan to support a $30.788 billion budget their chamber was ready to pass, the Senate surprised onlookers by taking up a previously-passed House budget ringing in at $30.25 billion and sent it to the governor for his consideration.

Without yet-to-be passed nonpreferred appropriations included in the final spend number, the bill sent to the governor’s desk rings in at around $29.7 billion, which was said by senators Wednesday to meet available funds.

Regardless of whether the governor signs, vetoes, or line-item vetoes the bill, both sides in the Senate conceded Wednesday that the passage of the bill does not represent the five-party agreement reached before Thanksgiving and still marks a beginning point for reaching agreement on a pension reform and revenue bill that can support the $30.788 billion budget plan.

“It’s not the end of the process, but in December it’s part of it, we can get done and we can get schools funded, and we can continue to have discussions on a variety of things,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) after Wednesday’s vote. “At least it’s something the governor can sign and at least get the money out."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Reed: “We have to wait and see what the Senate does tomorrow” before House will take up budget bill

Reed: “We have to wait and see what the Senate does tomorrow” before House will take up budget bill

As the latest chapter in Pennsylvania’s 175-day long budget saga continued to unfold on the Tuesday before Christmas, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) gave pause to some optimistic the plan could land on the governor’s desk by Wednesday, saying the chamber will not call up the $30.788 billion budget bill without agreement on a pension and tax bill first.

“We’re waiting to hear form the Senate whether they have an agreement on pension with the administration and the House Democrats and we still have not seen a Tax Code bill to pay for that General Appropriations bill, so as soon as we see those products from the Senate, we are ready to move forward,” he said. “If the Senate’s prepared with those products ready to go and has agreement ready to go, as soon as they give them to us, we’re ready to go to.”

According to Rep. Reed, the rationale behind holding up the spending bill is that it would be unconstitutional for the governor so sign a spending plan that is out of balance.

“We can’t send a budget bill to the governor without the Tax Code bill to pay for it, the governor’s not legally able to sign that bill, so we do need that to be able to send the budget bill to the governor,” he explained. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
As Christmas looms, lawmakers still can’t find agreement on state budget

As Christmas looms, lawmakers still can’t find agreement on state budget

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate took Sunday to regroup from Saturday’s disappointment after a vote to reform Pennsylvania’s state run pension systems suffered a resounding defeat putting in serious doubt the viability of a once-agreed-to budget framework.

While rank-and-file members returned home to their families or milled around Harrisburg Sunday, legislative Republican leadership gathered to discuss how to move forward with a state budget plan, however, their efforts saw little agreement.

House Republicans were the first to hold an internal pow-wow early in the afternoon Sunday.

Following that meeting, House Appropriations Majority Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) said the caucus leadership is still moving in the direction of an 11-month emergency funding stopgap proposal.

“We’re still talking, we really want to get this money out and we’re seeing what’s the fastest way to get it out, and continue to negotiate,” he said. “If I was a betting man right now, I’d lean toward an 11-month stopgap and that way we can still negotiate with the administration. I don’t want one school to close the first of the year and this is the fastest way to do that."

Sunday, December 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
RSS
First45678910111213Last