Reed on budget optimism: “Better this year than previous years”

Reed on budget optimism: “Better this year than previous years”

Author: Jason Gottesman/Monday, June 12, 2017/Categories: News and Views

With public pension reform signed into law Monday, lawmakers will soon turn their attention to crafting a state spending plan, which is due in just 18 days as of this writing.


While high-level five-party negotiations have not been the norm in crafting the coming year’s spending plan, The PLS Reporter caught up with House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) who relayed that with pension reform completed and budgetary pieces like a gaming expansion bill making their way to the finish line, negotiations are likely to heat up soon.


“The parties have been meeting regularly about a host of topics,” he said. “Pensions was at the forefront because that was the document lined-up and ready to go, but I think we are transitioning pretty quickly into full budget negotiations.”


Meanwhile, as to what specific components will make up the scope of those negotiations, Rep. Reed indicated gaming expansion is going to be an important part of a final budget that House Republicans can agree to.


“We’ve passed over all those documents [a gaming expansion and a budget plan] over to them, we’ve been waiting since April on [the Senate’s] response on the budget; hopefully that will come soon,” he said.


“Gaming has been part of a five-party negotiation for almost a year now and we expect it to be part of a budget agreement. Certainly, those two documents need to be rectified very, very quickly here; but we think gaming is going to have be an integral part of the final budget negotiations.”


While not tied directly in to the budget, there is no doubt that the governor signing Senate Bill 1 Monday afternoon helped clear room for more substantive, budget-focused discussions to take place.


“It always helps to have big issues that might be a point of friction off the table,” Gov. Wolf told reporters after he signed the pension reform bill. “I think it’s more a reflection of the kind of atmosphere that’s we’re discussing all kinds of things, including the budget.”


However, at this point, Gov. Wolf has remained coy in publicly stating what needs to be part of a budget he’ll agree to.


“I think the big issue is getting a real, balanced budget and I’m confident that we’re going to be getting it,” he said. “It has to be real, it has to be fair; I’m not sure there’s any one thing that reflects all those things, but everyone needs a real budget. We have to have money that balances expenditures and revenues in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”


House Majority Leader Reed added to that confidence. When asked by The PLS Reporter about his optimism regarding getting a budget done on time, he said: “Better this year than previous years, but time will tell.”


Pennsylvania’s new fiscal year begins on July 1.