Jay Costa http://wesa.fm en Students, Faculty Want More Money for Community Colleges http://wesa.fm/post/students-faculty-want-more-money-community-colleges <p>More than 200 students and faculty lobbied Tuesday for an increase in community college funding in the 2014-15 state budget.</p><p>The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges wants a $12 million increase for the 14 community colleges throughout the commonwealth. &nbsp;</p><p>Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D - Allegheny), who is also a member of the Community College of Allegheny County’s Board of Trustees, joined them at the State Capitol rally.</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:52:27 +0000 Jessica Nath 26847 at http://wesa.fm PA Dems Outline Budget Savings, Investment in Jobs, Education http://wesa.fm/post/pa-dems-outline-budget-savings-investment-jobs-education <p>Before the holidays, Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to deliver his mid-fiscal year budget update.&nbsp;</p><p>Citing a November report by the Independent Fiscal Office that the commonwealth faces a projected structural budget deficit of $839 million, Senate Democrats Tuesday unveiled a savings and investment plan.</p> Tue, 10 Dec 2013 21:48:12 +0000 Kevin Gavin 21151 at http://wesa.fm Package of Bills Aims to Help Veterans http://wesa.fm/post/package-bills-aims-help-veterans <p>About 995,000 veterans live in Pennsylvania, many of whom face homelessness, unemployment and traumatic disorders when they come home.</p><p>Senate Democrats introduced a package of bills last Tuesday intended to help veterans and their families make the transition from serving in the military.</p><p>The Saluting Pennsylvania Veterans plan consists of 23 bills and targets veteran education, housing and jobs.</p><p>Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa said they were surprised when they heard some of the issues vets face.</p> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 08:30:00 +0000 Jessica Nath 20154 at http://wesa.fm $100 Surcharge on Speeding Tickets Slowing Action on Transportation Bill http://wesa.fm/post/100-surcharge-speeding-tickets-slowing-action-transportation-bill <p></p><p>A transportation funding bill for Pennsylvania is still stuck in park.</p><p>But while negotiations continue, the fate of one of its more controversial mechanisms for generating revenue is still unsettled.</p><p>The state Senate’s plan to fund infrastructure includes tacking a 100 dollar surcharge onto certain traffic violations, like speeding tickets.&nbsp;&nbsp;Most of the money would go toward mass transit.&nbsp;The Senate projected the surcharge would raise as much as 75 million dollars in the first year of implementation.</p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 14:01:31 +0000 Mary Wilson 18899 at http://wesa.fm Lawmakers Propose Dedicated State Funding for Museums http://wesa.fm/post/lawmakers-propose-dedicated-state-funding-museums <p>Two Pennsylvania senators, one Democrat and one Republican, are trying to dig up some new funding for local museums across the commonwealth.</p><p>Over the last eight years, state aid to the museums has dropped from $29 million to $2 million for fiscal year 2013-14.</p><p>Senators Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) have authored legislation to dedicate 3 percent of the state’s Realty Transfer Tax, about $8 million to $9 million. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Kevin Gavin 14975 at http://wesa.fm State Lawmakers Push for Debate on PSU Oversight http://wesa.fm/post/state-lawmakers-push-debate-psu-oversight <p>Nearly eight months ago, then state Auditor General Jack Wagner issued a long list of recommendations that he thought would provide for more oversight of the operation of Penn State University. Most of those recommendations have not been adopted, but Democrats in the state Senate are pushing to change that.</p><p>“We are calling upon our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to have that conversation with us over the course summer and the fall,” said Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).</p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:42:11 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 12198 at http://wesa.fm Details Scarce as Senate GOP Wrangles Votes on Liquor Bill http://wesa.fm/post/details-scarce-senate-gop-wrangles-votes-liquor-bill <p>State Senate Republicans are expected to offer their own counter-proposal to the House's plan to phase out state wine and spirits stores and privatize the state's wholesale operation.<br><br>But details of the proposal are still under wraps. When asked for a status update on the bill, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman (R-Centre) said, with a laugh, "That's a great question."<br> Mon, 17 Jun 2013 20:58:27 +0000 Mary Wilson 11615 at http://wesa.fm Senator Jay Costa on Adopting Medicaid Expansion http://wesa.fm/post/senator-jay-costa-adopting-medicaid-expansion <p>When the Supreme Court's ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year, they gave states the option to opt out of the law's Medicaid expansion. This left the decision of whether or not to participate in the hands of our governors and state lawmakers.</p><p>If adopted in Pennsylvania, the Medicaid expansion would cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $15,400 for a single person and $31,800 for a family of four. And the federal government&nbsp; would pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for the first three years, with the federal share dropping to 90 percent by 2021 and remaining 90 percent thereafter.</p><p>Governor Corbett has said he does not want to adopt the expansion because it would "<a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/health/corbett-remains-unwilling-to-expand-medicaid-in-pennsylvania-682038/">add to a budget burden that's unsustainable</a>. "</p><p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 22:28:00 +0000 Heather McClain 10866 at http://wesa.fm Senator Jay Costa on Adopting Medicaid Expansion A Capitol Pastime, Linkage Becomes a Fighting Word http://wesa.fm/post/capitol-pastime-linkage-becomes-fighting-word <p>Rumblings of horse trading, linking issues and leverage have the Senate's minority leader up in arms. Democrat Jay Costa said recently he's worried the Pennsylvania House will hold transportation funding hostage.<br><br>It's not the first time Senate Democrats have voiced such a concern. But Costa was especially emphatic discussing it during a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last week.<br> Tue, 28 May 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Mary Wilson 10154 at http://wesa.fm Corbett & Sen. Dems in War Over His Words http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-sen-dems-war-over-his-words <p>A week has passed since Gov. Tom Corbett's ill-received comment tying Pennsylvania's &nbsp;7.9 percent unemployment rate to job applicants unable to pass drug tests. &nbsp;But Senate Democrats are revisiting earlier comments that they say are reflective of Corbett's policies. &nbsp;The governor insists it’s much ado about words.</p><p>The Senate’s top Democrat says clumsy statements by the governor are significant not because they make easy hay for political opponents, but because of what they reveal about Corbett himself.</p> Tue, 07 May 2013 07:53:33 +0000 Mary Wilson and WESA Staff 9084 at http://wesa.fm