Cancelled budget meeting blasted by House GOP leadership

Cancelled budget meeting blasted by House GOP leadership

Call it cancelled or postponed, Wednesday’s previously scheduled 1:00 p.m. meeting to discuss the state budget and the GOP offered pension-for-basic education funding proposal was nixed by Gov. Tom Wolf just hours before it was supposed to begin.

While Wolf spokesperson Jeff Sheridan in an email to The PLS Reporter said the meeting has been merely postponed, House GOP leaders speaking to the press Wednesday morning said the meeting was cancelled and not expected to be rescheduled anytime this week.

“Certainly, we’re a little bit concerned about that,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “The governor has had our proposal for a little over a week, it’s time to get a response to that proposal.”

Rep. Reed said that response could have come in any number of ways, even in the form of a counterproposal.

“The response could even be: ‘We’re not fully supportive of that pension proposal, we have some tweaks we want to make to it, we’re willing to change our education number accordingly’,” he said.

This represents a decided change in tone from last week's take-it-or-leave-it rhetoric by Republicans following the initial proffer of the plan.

Wednesday, August 26, 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
Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

Gov. Wolf on GOP pension offer discussion: “It was just a little confusing to me”

A meeting between Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican and Democratic leaders from both chambers broke up Tuesday afternoon with the governor saying he needs more time to evaluate the GOP’s pension plan and Republican members of the House still intent on overriding certain line-items of their June-passed budget.

“[The governor] said he needed 24 more hours, so we’ll wait 24 hours and hopefully he’ll give us an answer tomorrow,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) upon leaving the meeting. “He had some questions, but obviously he didn’t want to do it today. I think it had more to do with the veto override that they’re planning in the House and he has questions.”

Gov. Wolf said the questions he has surround what the savings are going to be, which he said seems to change depending on who in the meeting was answering the questions.

“It was just a little confusing to me,” he said while noting he is still in the process of considering the plan.

“I need to understand the offer. I’m still working on it. We got some more information yesterday. I asked questions today and some of the answers were there and I need to get more answers,” he added.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
As partial veto override attempt looms, budget stalemate rhetoric heats up

As partial veto override attempt looms, budget stalemate rhetoric heats up

As House Republicans work toward attempts to partially override Gov. Tom Wolf’s full veto of a GOP-agreed to budget passed in June, the rhetoric between legislative Republicans and Gov. Wolf once again heated up Tuesday.

Responding to a letter sent by the governor to House lawmakers on Monday calling the veto override attempt unconstitutional as it seeks to override only certain lines of the full veto, Rep. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson) sent a letter to Gov. Wolf taking him to task for using "the neediest of our citizens as political pawns.”

"You had the opportunity to do what every other governor for over fifty five years has done, that is to fund those line items where there was agreement," he wrote. "This would allow the departments and agencies to provide services to the citizens of the Commonwealth while working with us on the rest."

He chided the governor for consistently asking for more concessions from Republican lawmakers during the course of ongoing negotiations while—he claims—GOP leadership continues to offer compromise ideas of pension reform and education spending.

Rep. Dush said it is this stance from the governor that has put legislators in the position where they must vote to override certain lines of the vetoed budget.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House Education Chair: 95 percent of school districts able to stay open until October

House Education Chair: 95 percent of school districts able to stay open until October

As Pennsylvania’s state budget impasse continues to drag on into the start of the school year and districts begin to plan for contingencies in case the stalemate continues, House Education Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) said Monday that around 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts will likely to survive until October without state funding.

“Statewide I have not seen a school district that can’t open [on time],” he told a small group of reporters following Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon featuring Education Sec. Pedro Rivera. “I think the school districts as a whole, the majority—I mean great majority—I’m going to say 95 percent of them probably can survive into October without taking a loan, possibly.”

He added those that are more financially distressed might have to go out for a line of credit a little sooner.

Currently, he noted school districts have already started to collect property taxes and other sources of their own revenue.

Monday, August 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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