Budget, revenue talks roll on with little discernible end

Budget, revenue talks roll on with little discernible end

Author: Jason Gottesman/Wednesday, June 28, 2017/Categories: News and Views

We’re now just two days from the end of Pennsylvania’s current fiscal year and talks among top lawmakers about how to close out the current fiscal year and balance the coming fiscal year’s budget are still taking top priority at the state Capitol, but substantial agreement has yet to be seen.


“We’re still in negotiations and staff are talking at different levels,” said House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York). “We’ll continue meeting and having discussions: Democrat, Republican, Governor, everybody as we move forward here over the next day or two. Our hope is to get a [General Appropriations] bill on the governor’s desk by Friday.”


According to Rep. Saylor, while revenue discussions have not proven fruitful with the House insisting on a video gaming terminal component to gaming expansion, discussions on compromise are still possible.


“I think we have to have those discussions, it depends on what the Senate wants and where we’re at,” he said. “We’re open to talks on any number of revenue issues as we move forward.”


Meanwhile, Rep. Saylor’s Democratic counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) noted his caucus has had revenue ideas for quite some time, but have had varying levels of success in getting them considered by the Republican majority.


“We’ve had our own ideas about revenue and some of those—many of those—they’ve ignored, some of those they’re considering, but other than that we’ve been very out front,” he said.


Much like Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) on Tuesday, Wednesday Rep. Markosek noted that his caucus could be included more in budget discussions as a way to drive new ideas forward and help a languishing process.


“It would be easy for me to complain about a lack of inclusion for the last seven years, over the last seven budgets, but we have a relatively small minority. They’ve been really cordial with us, the majority, and I don’t want to suggest that they haven’t been,” he said.


“At the end of the day they control the calendar and a lot of the discussion, and we have the governor on our side and we’re working with him, but at the end of the day this is going to have to be a five-party agreement—all four caucuses and the governor—and that’s what we’re working toward.”


Pennsylvania’s new fiscal year begins Saturday.