Senate Democrats add new proposal to the property tax relief discussion

Senate Democrats add new proposal to the property tax relief discussion

Senate Democrats Wednesday added their property tax reform proposal into the fray, proposing increases in the personal income, sales, and cigarette taxes to raise $4.4 billion to provide maximum property tax relief in the form of a $1,990 refund check.

According to the proposal, renters will be eligible for a $500 rent refund.

The plan is called The Pennsylvania Home Rebate Plan.

A fact sheet handed out by the caucus indicates the proposal will raise the needed revenues by increasing the personal income tax to 4.08 percent, raising the sales and use tax by .6 percent, adding $1 to the per pack cigarette tax, and imposing another 40 percent tax on all other tobacco products.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll

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
Turzai: Senate and House Republicans have a budget deal

Turzai: Senate and House Republicans have a budget deal

According to House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), House and Senate Republicans have agreed to a budget and other component pieces that will begin moving within the next several days to meet the June 30 budget deadline.

“There will be a [budget] bill moving on Saturday with the concurrence on Monday,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

At this point, he said he does not see agreement with the governor likely based upon the governor’s insistence on tax increases.

“The governor has not moved away from a single tax,” he said. “He has asked for a tax increase in the first year of $5 billion in taxes and then it increases to $8 billion in the second year. He hasn’t moved away from a single tax."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Impasse or progress? Budget negotiators spin status of talks

Impasse or progress? Budget negotiators spin status of talks

Budget principals left Tuesday’s closed-door discussion calling the relatively short meeting a planning session to set the stage for the coming week’s negotiations.

However, the progress of the overall negotiations was cast in different shades by different negotiators.

Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) continued to say there remains a wide gulf on issues that should be on the table for discussion.

“If the governor is not willing to move, we are prepared to move on pension reform and liquor privatization,” he said. “The Senate leadership and the House leadership—the Republicans—are moving forward together on making sure we have a responsible budget done on time if the governor is not willing to move on important issues.”

He said that budget will be done by the June 30 deadline.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Legislators play blame game over budget negotiation impasse

Legislators play blame game over budget negotiation impasse

As the end of Pennsylvania’s fiscal year grows closer, leaders from all four caucuses began pointing fingers in earnest Monday, blaming one another for why negotiations on the budget and related pieces of legislation like pension reform and liquor privatization have stalled.

Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate emerged from a Monday morning budget-related meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf expressing frustration at an impasse in overall negotiations they say is caused by Speaker Mike Turzai’s (R-Allegheny) unwillingness to move forward without a deal on liquor privatization.

“The hold up in my view, and I think the consensus is, that wine and spirits privatization is the thing that’s bringing everything to a halt,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).

“It’s a matter of priorities,” said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny). “We have the Speaker of the House here worried about booze and how we buy booze instead of worrying about our kids and how we’ll educate them.”

Monday, June 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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