Liquor privatization plan to include leasing of wholesale system, eventual divestiture of retail stores

The Senate Law and Justice Committee is poised Sunday to vote on a compromise liquor privatization plan. During a Sunday afternoon briefing with reporters, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) gave some details about the plan expected to emerge in full on Sunday.

“It’s my understanding that it will contain leasing the wholesale component to our current liquor system and then divesting completely out of the retail side of the business,” he said.

He said the phase-out of the retail market will be “gradual” and take “a couple of years to occur.”

Friday, legislative Republican leaders said the budget they’ve come to an agreement to without the governor includes $220 million from the privatization of state liquor stores.

Saturday, June 27, 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

GOP’s budget plan revealed; Gov. Wolf vows veto

House and Senate Republican leaders stood united Friday afternoon unveiling the much anticipated agreed-to budget bill that they promise to have to the governor’s desk by the end of June 30th.

“In November of 2014, the people of Pennsylvania sent historic majorities of the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate—Republicans—to Harrisburg with a mandate to reign in state government spending and to hold the line on taxes,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre).

He said the budget put together lives up to that mandate, noting it makes significant new investments in education, grows at a rate below TABOR, as well as making investments in agriculture, services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and security for the Pope’s visit in September.

“Most importantly, this budget does not include any new taxes,” he emphasized, noting the chambers will also pass liquor privatization and pension reform measures to send to the governor by June 30th.

The total budget figure being offered by the Republicans tops out at $30.1 billion.

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

Details of House pension plan emerge

House Republicans spent most of Friday morning and early afternoon caucusing on what is likely to be their version of pension reform, to be adopted as an amendment to Senate Bill 1 sometime in the next several days.

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill), one of the House GOP’s top pension minds and a member of the Public Employee Retirement Commission, spoke to The PLS Reporter about the likely contents of that plan and what was discussed in those caucus discussions.

“I think members continue to be interested in some of the goals we’ve been trying to achieve for the last number of years, namely, shifting some risk from the taxpayer and out of the hands of a legislature that has not been able to manage a defined benefit plan and develop savings and provide some kind of a benefit for new employees coming into the system,” he said.

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

Despite Reed’s comments, liquor privatization still a major component of Republican budget plans

Tuesday, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) made waves when he said liquor privatization will not hold up budget negotiations.

Less than a day after those remarks were made, Rep. Reed and others were quick to point out that those remarks do not mean the issue is off the table or that it has taken a different priority level than before.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to take a revenue source off the table right now,” Rep. Reed told The PLS Reporter.

He said if a revenue source is removed from the table, something has to be removed from the expenditure side as well.

“Liquor is going to be in the House and Senate budget,” he said. “It’s $200 million worth of revenue that we believe can be used for education. If the governor—who has said that he’s very committed to more money for education—wants to take $200 million off the table for education, that’s his choice.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views