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

Budget politicking hits the road

Major players in Pennsylvania’s budget stalemate were on the road Monday trying to sell their message to the Commonwealth’s body politic before House members return to voting session on Tuesday.

The governor had a busy morning in Western Pennsylvania where he began the day giving remarks at the Pittsburgh Technology Council Breakfast Briefing Program.

He then stayed in Pittsburgh where he gave remarks at the VFW national convention.

By noon, Gov. Wolf was speaking at Big Beaver Elementary School in Darlington, Beaver County. That stop was part of his continuing “Schools That Teach Tour,” which is the governor’s ongoing push for his education funding plan.

It was that third stop that was met with Republican reaction in a joint statement from Representatives Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) and Jim Marshall (R-Beaver), who organized a rally held to counter Gov. Wolf’s trip to the area. 

Monday, July 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

GOP House member unveils budget alternative

Standing alone Thursday, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) unveiled what he called a “middle of the road” budget alternative.

“I’ve been here a long time, I’ve been through a lot of these debates on the budget and I think it’s time we start to get serious about doing this,” he said at Thursday morning’s news conference unveiling his proposal. “It doesn’t appear to me that much progress is being made.”

Thursday, July 16, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views