Budget deal still on…for now?

Budget deal still on…for now?

Pennsylvania’s Capitol was a den of confusion Friday swirling with rumors, innuendo, and speculation of every degree as to what—if anything—would happen with the budget framework that has limped along in discussions since just before Thanksgiving.

After a day of long intra-caucus discussions for Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Republicans, it appears as though all parties are still moving toward an eventual budget resolution and the plan has—as of yet—not completely imploded.

House Republicans met for about three hours Friday afternoon in an attempt to test the waters on a number of different revenue options, including a slate of sales tax exemptions that may be eliminated.

“I think every revenue generator that came up, members of the caucus formed their opinion and made them known very constructively,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) after House Republicans had their discussion on revenue options and other budget related matters. “I don’t think there was any flashpoint in this caucus at all. I think it was a very positive thing."

Friday, December 4, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Stop-gap budget chugs along in House

Stop-gap budget chugs along in House

With its ultimate fate already widely known, a temporary funding measure continued to move through the General Assembly Monday as it passed along party lines out of the House Appropriations Committee.

There, familiar arguments met the spending bill and related legislation that tore through the Senate last week.

House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) said during Monday’s committee meeting that the passage of the legislation would take away the pressure currently facing legislators to get a budget done, which is being brought by public schools and social service agencies who are lacking critical state funding.

“It buys us a little bit of time, but it really doesn’t solve the budget problem,” he said. “What we are doing here today is essentially using precious time…to go through an exercise that is essentially meaningless.”

Monday, September 21, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

House GOP veto override attempts fall short

A move by the House Republican Caucus to attempt to override certain line-items of Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a GOP-crafted, June-passed budget plan fell short Tuesday.

The caucus brought up line items related to funding rape crisis centers, domestic violence programs, school food service, and other education, social service and human services line items.

While debates on the merits boiled down to Republicans urging support for the override votes to help get money to centers that are struggling to make ends meet during the budget impasse, Democrats argued the override attempts were unconstitutional and offers of necessary help were just a ploy.

“We will fight for additional funding for rape crisis centers to make sure they have adequate funding to do their job,” said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) during the floor debate Tuesday. “We will not support an override of a veto…this is nothing but a scam and you know it. It’s a stunt and it’s about time you get called on it."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

The House Appropriations Committee took a step Wednesday to put a budget vehicle into place for the eventuality of an agreed-to budget plan between Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf.

House Bill 1460 cleared the committee along a party-line vote and contains the exact same language as the budget bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by Gov. Wolf just over three weeks ago.

While an agreement still seems to be a ways off, committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) said the move was necessary as part of House rules in order to make sure an agreed-to product can be considered in a timely manner.

“House rules require the posting of a General Appropriations bill for second consideration, it takes about two weeks in advance of when this bill will actually be voted on the floor,” he told committee members. “We are voting House Bill 1460 today so we can get it a first reading and get it in position for second consideration whenever we’re able to reach a negotiated agreement with the administration."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Legislative leaders spin House-passed budget

The House of Representatives Saturday afternoon passed a GOP crafted $30.1 billion budget plan that does not include any of the three main priorities of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House passed FY 2015-2016 spending plan worked its way through the chamber by a 112-77 vote with two Republicans, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) and Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair), joining Democrats in opposing the plan.

Following the vote, leaders from both parties visited with reporters to discuss the spending plan.

“I think the key components to this budget are that it’s balanced with no new taxes going forward into the next fiscal year; we not only meet our current obligations as far as funding core functions of government, but we also include over $200 million worth of new spending related to education items in the budget,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views