Budget veto override still a possibility, Speaker Turzai says

Budget veto override still a possibility, Speaker Turzai says

Speaking to the Pennsylvania Press Club Monday, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said the General Assembly may try to push an override of Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget-bill veto.

“[Our goal] is to actually get the governor to recognize that he does not have the votes for what he has put on the table and he does not have the support of the citizens of Pennsylvania for what he has put on the table and he has not backed off of it at all,” he said. “We have to look at overriding if we aren’t going to have a substantive discussion.”

He said the House voted down the governor’s tax package 193-0.

“You don’t get to negotiate from a figure that has almost zero support,” he said. “That’s not how negotiations work.”

Monday, July 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Republicans see Isenhour’s replacement of McGinty as a positive development

Shortly after Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday formally announced the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Katie McGinty, and announced Secretary of Legislative Affairs Mary Isenhour as her replacement, Republicans praised the move as a positive development in terms of ongoing budget negotiations.

“Mary Isenhour is a great pick and probably should have been his pick from the beginning,” said House GOP spokesperson Steve Miskin. “It’ll be good to have someone who actually factors in these meetings.”

Miskin praised Isenhour’s consistent efforts to work with members of the legislature and listening to their concerns in an attempt to work through issues.

Senate Republicans were of the same opinion.

“We view it as a positive,” said Senate Republican spokesperson Jenn Kocher. “There’s a lot of respect for Mary and Mary’s ability to carry forward the governor’s agenda as opposed to her own agenda."

Thursday, July 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

The House Appropriations Committee took a step Wednesday to put a budget vehicle into place for the eventuality of an agreed-to budget plan between Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf.

House Bill 1460 cleared the committee along a party-line vote and contains the exact same language as the budget bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by Gov. Wolf just over three weeks ago.

While an agreement still seems to be a ways off, committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) said the move was necessary as part of House rules in order to make sure an agreed-to product can be considered in a timely manner.

“House rules require the posting of a General Appropriations bill for second consideration, it takes about two weeks in advance of when this bill will actually be voted on the floor,” he told committee members. “We are voting House Bill 1460 today so we can get it a first reading and get it in position for second consideration whenever we’re able to reach a negotiated agreement with the administration."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Budget negotiators find a “better understanding” of differences, but no final product

Key budget negotiators in Pennsylvania’s three-week long budget standoff emerged from a nearly four-hour long late afternoon meeting Tuesday announcing they have not come to an agreement on a final budget product, but have found one nugget of success in the search for an agreed-to spending plan: “better understanding” of their differences.

Both sides acknowledged this is a key first step toward an eventual agreement on Pennsylvania’s FY 2015-2016 spending plan.

“We really rolled up our sleeves and found where some agreements are and where the disagreements are,” said House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) of the meeting.

He said the meeting was productive in that the sides were able to establish parameters—guiderails, as he and Gov. Tom Wolf put it—for future discussions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

House members return to session with deep divides

The House of Representatives returned to Harrisburg Tuesday for a rare mid-July voting session and rank-and-file members of that chamber expressed frustrations and divides as deep as those in their leadership responsible for negotiating a new spending plan.

Rep. Lee James (R-Venango) told The PLS Reporter that while his district hasn’t seen the mailers sent to mainly Republican House districts in the southeast, he reported those of his district are happy with his vote in support of the Republican-crafted budget plan.

“I’m trying to hold the line on increasing taxes and that’s their main concern,” he said.

While he said he received about 100 “canned presentations” from school teachers, after he explained to people why he voted the way he did many reported that their union did not tell them about what the governor’s revenue plan would mean for them.

Giving a literal thumbs down to whether he’d support new revenue sources, Rep. James indicated new taxes are a non-starter for him.

“It’s kind of a non-event out in the western part of Pennsylvania as long as I hold the line on taxes,” he stated.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views