House Republicans form task force to find government redundancies, promote efficiency

House Republicans form task force to find government redundancies, promote efficiency

A special task force of the House Republican Policy Committee was announced Monday morning, appointed to find redundancies in government and promote efficiencies to find savings that could potentially mitigate the need for revenue increases.

The endeavor by the 17-member group of Republicans is called PennSAVE, the acronym standing for savings, accountability, value, and efficiency.

Monday, February 22, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate loads budget and pension bills that face uncertain future

Senate loads budget and pension bills that face uncertain future

Moving right along with the once-touted five-party budget framework agreement, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent a General Appropriations bill and pension reform proposal to the full Senate floor in accordance with the agreement.

However, their fate in the House remains anything but certain.

The budget bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee included a total spend number of $30.788 billion budget.

That number is over $500 million above an amount the House Republican caucus said it would be willing to support after contentious caucus meetings Friday and Saturday.

Sunday, December 6, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Capitol grinds to a lull as PA concludes second week of new fiscal year without a state budget

Wednesday marked the two week anniversary of the start of the 2015-2016 fiscal year, while lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf have yet to agree on a state budget.

July 15 is the traditional calendar date on which the state sends its first round of checks to school districts, but the Commonwealth is not authorized to spend the money without the enactment of a state budget.

Meanwhile, activity in the Capitol was at a notable lull Wednesday as tourists once again claimed the Rotunda and staff roamed about from meeting-to-meeting.

While some legislative leaders and the governor were in the Capitol, no face-to-face meetings between legislative leadership and Gov. Wolf were reported or observed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

As liquor bill moves forward, debate continues over value of privatization vs. modernization

As House Bill 466 continues to work its way through the Senate on its way to final passage and eventually Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk by end of legislative business Tuesday, debate in the Senate Appropriations Committee moved somewhat away from the cause of displaced workers and centered around whether Pennsylvania is undervaluing the current system by selling the asset without first working toward modernization.

Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) said now is not the time to sell off the state-owned system.

“We do not have to sell off this asset,” he said. “It’s one of the few we have left.”

He said while changes to the system have to be made to increase profitability, it’s not the time to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Monday, June 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Property tax reform remains a bright spot among budget-related negotiations

While it may not be at the very forefront of the topics being discussed around the budget in the waning days of June, negotiations around getting an agreed-to property tax reduction bill between the House, Senate, and governor’s office remain productive.

One such negotiation session was held Friday afternoon and included advocates for Senate Bill 76—Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) and Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon)—as well as others including Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York), Rep. Mike Hanna (D-Centre), and Wolf administration proxies.

Upon leaving the meeting, negotiators remained upbeat in their belief that property tax reduction or elimination will remain a significant source of bipartisan agreement in ongoing budget negotiations.

“I think all five groups—the four caucuses and the administration—are all interested in making this part of a final package,” Rep. Hanna told reporters following the meeting. 

Friday, June 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views