State Budget http://wesa.fm en Corbett Shrugs Off Possibility Lawmakers Will Sue Over Blocked Earmarks http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-shrugs-possibility-lawmakers-will-sue-over-blocked-earmarks <p>Gov. Tom Corbett is shrugging off the possibility state lawmakers will sue him for blocking their earmarks earlier this month.<br /><br />Legislative leaders say the line-item veto of seven-point-two million dollars in projects was unconstitutional.<br /><br />They could try to override the veto with a two-thirds vote, or sue the administration.<br /><br />Corbett said he doesn’t think a court battle is likely, though he’s not troubled by the possibility.<br /><br />"Let them sue me," he said. "Last time I looked, that’s in the constitution, isn’t it?"<br /> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:02:49 +0000 Mary Wilson 33004 at http://wesa.fm Partial Veto of Projects Could Prompt Lawsuit http://wesa.fm/post/partial-veto-projects-could-prompt-lawsuit <p>Lawmakers think the governor overreached when he vetoed not just parts of the state budget, but parts of another related piece of legislation, and House and Senate leaders are weighing their options to retaliate.<br /><br />The state constitution allows the governor to partially veto “appropriations.” Lawmakers have interpreted that to mean specific sections of a state budget can be struck down by the governor.<br /><br />Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett did that.<br /> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:11:23 +0000 Mary Wilson 32847 at http://wesa.fm Strong and Decisive, Corbett Takes A Stand Against the Legislature http://wesa.fm/post/strong-and-decisive-corbett-takes-stand-against-legislature <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On the eve of the state budget deadline, Governor Tom Corbett announced Thursday that he had signed the $29 billion state spending plan, but </span><a href="http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-signs-budget-cuts-general-assembly-funds" style="line-height: 1.5;">line-item vetoed $65 million</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in legislative spending. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Governor is blaming budget problems on pension costs and called on the legislature to come back and enact <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/hybrid-approach-pennsylvania-pension-reform">pension reform</a>.</span></p><p><a href="http://www.pennlive.com">Penn Live</a>’s John Micek said he expected that Corbett’s announcement would include the line-item veto, so he was not surprised with the outcome.&nbsp;</p><p>Micek was instead surprised by Corbett's demeanor.</p><p>“I wondered where this Tom Corbett was four years ago. Very strong, very decisive. You know, not taking any guff, casting the legislature as the bad guy. His approval rating has been lousy, theirs’ is worse than his. So he loses nothing by running against them and making them the bogeyman here.” Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:45:43 +0000 Essential Pittsburgh 32392 at http://wesa.fm Strong and Decisive, Corbett Takes A Stand Against the Legislature Corbett Signs Budget, But Cuts Off General Assembly Funds http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-signs-budget-cuts-general-assembly-funds <p>Though Gov. Tom Corbett signed the 2014-15 state budget, he line-item vetoed $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative designated spending.<br /><br />He said he did this because the lawmakers sent him a budget that was filled with discretionary spending but refused to deal with the unsustainable public pension system.<br /><br />Instead, he said the Assembly increased its $320 million budget by two percent – which he said would cost taxpayers an additional $5 million.<br /> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:57:17 +0000 Jessica Nath 32379 at http://wesa.fm Pension Overhaul Spiked As Corbett Stalls http://wesa.fm/post/pension-overhaul-spiked-corbett-stalls <p>State lawmakers unceremoniously sidelined a public pension overhaul bill Tuesday, disarming House Republicans in their efforts to advance a priority topping Gov. Tom Corbett’s legislative wish list.<br /><br />Midway through floor debate on the measure, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R- Bucks) asked to send the pensions proposal to his committee for further study over the summer.<br /><br />“There are too many unanswered questions about the proposal and about the amendment that we have before us,” said DiGirolamo.<br /> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:55:04 +0000 Mary Wilson 31939 at http://wesa.fm Democrats Slam State Budget http://wesa.fm/post/democrats-slam-state-budget <p>The Pennsylvania Senate passed a $29.1 billion state budget late Monday to the fanfare of Republicans and jeers of Democrats. Gov. Tom Corbett <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-withholds-signature-budget-pension-overhaul">has yet to sign the budget</a>, citing a lack of a pension overhaul.</p><p>Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) is one of many Democrats displeased with the bill.</p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:12:31 +0000 Deanna Garcia 31881 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Withholds Signature On Budget For Pension Overhaul http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-withholds-signature-budget-pension-overhaul <p>Gov. Tom Corbett is holding off on signing the $29.1 billion commonwealth budget approved by state lawmakers Monday evening.<br /><br />The announcement came just after the final vote on the spending plan, which includes no new taxes but leans heavily on one-time revenue sources and hopeful revenue forecasts.<br /><br />In a written statement, the governor took issue not with anything in the spending plan, but with the Legislature’s failure to pass another one of his top priorities: changes to public pension benefits for future state and school employees.<br /> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:51:25 +0000 Mary Wilson 31867 at http://wesa.fm House Sends Budget To Senate As Tax Talks Continue http://wesa.fm/post/house-sends-budget-senate-tax-talks-continue <p>The state House passed a $29.1 billion spending plan Wednesday, five days before the July 30 budget deadline. The measure now heads to the Senate, which looks likely to make big changes to the revenue sources assumed in the plan, if not the final spend figure.<br /><br />House Republicans heralded the proposal as a reflection of their priorities: holding the line on spending, without raising taxes, and passed before July.<br /> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 14:55:09 +0000 Mary Wilson 31613 at http://wesa.fm House Panel Links Budget To Liquor Privatization http://wesa.fm/post/house-panel-links-budget-liquor-privatization <p>With about a week left before the state budget deadline, House lawmakers have advanced an actual spending plan.<br /><br />Until now, the House has been teeing up a bill referred to merely as vehicle - last year's budget in new legislation, a placeholder for whenever the Republican majority put together the plan it intended to send to the Senate.<br /><br />And in some ways, the $29.1 billion spending plan voted out of the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday is still just a vehicle. It's likely to undergo some big changes before heading to the governor's desk.<br /> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:53:56 +0000 Mary Wilson 31536 at http://wesa.fm Nothing But Questions As the June Budget Deadline Nears http://wesa.fm/post/nothing-questions-june-budget-deadline-nears <p>State lawmakers are heading into the final stretch of June, and for the first time in four years, a budget agreement doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.<br /><br />Gov. Tom Corbett, who ran for office promising timely state budgets, has said he’ll forgive a late spending plan in return for passage of two other legislative priorities: an overhaul of public pensions and changes to how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania.<br /> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 15:23:58 +0000 Mary Wilson 31478 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Shrugs Off June 30 Budget Deadline http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-shrugs-june-30-budget-deadline <p>Gov. Tom Corbett says he’ll make do with a late budget this year and possibly renege on his no-taxes campaign pledge. &nbsp;<br /><br />“Given the difficulty of this budget, I have allowed — I have informed — the legislators, we need to get this done and we need to get it done right, rather than quickly,” said Corbett at a news conference Tuesday. “So, if we are not able to finish by June 30, we are not able to finish by June 30.”<br /> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 20:47:34 +0000 Mary Wilson 31099 at http://wesa.fm House, Senate GOP Leaders Not Expecting To Meet End-Of-June Budget Deadline http://wesa.fm/post/house-senate-gop-leaders-not-expecting-meet-end-june-budget-deadline <p>It’s shaping up to be a longer-than-usual work calendar for state lawmakers negotiating the commonwealth’s budget.<br /><br />House and Senate Republican leaders aren’t expecting to meet the state constitution’s end-of-June budget deadline.<br /><br />“It’s unlikely that we will finish our work by June 30,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said he told his caucus’s members. “Certainly be prepared for at least the first week in July.”<br /> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:58:17 +0000 Mary Wilson 31056 at http://wesa.fm Budget Talks Begin As Revenue Shortfall Gets Wider http://wesa.fm/post/budget-talks-begin-revenue-shortfall-gets-wider <p>State lawmakers return to Harrisburg next week for the relatively action-packed month of June. It’s a time reserved for finalizing a state budget before the July 1 deadline, and all signs point to a tough road ahead.<br /><br />A projected $1.2 billion deficit is likely to grow, as May tax collections have been lackluster.<br /><br />“May’s collection numbers, to date, have been below what we would’ve hoped,” said GOP Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi. “So we’re very closely watching how the month of May will close.”<br /> Fri, 30 May 2014 11:13:13 +0000 Mary Wilson 30101 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Touts STEM Funding in 2015-16 Budget Proposal http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-touts-stem-funding-2015-16-budget-proposal <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Gov. Tom Corbett was in Pittsburgh Monday, touring the Carnegie Science Center and touting his 2015-16&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">budget proposal, which he says includes funds mean to boost student achievement in STEM fields.</span></p><p>“It’s vital to make sure that every child today … has a full productive life for tomorrow, and (is) being exposed to science, technology, engineering, and math,” Corbett said.</p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:18:56 +0000 Liz Reid 27955 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Touts STEM Funding in 2015-16 Budget Proposal Corbett Looks to Spend More, Relying on Unresolved Items http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-looks-spend-more-relying-unresolved-items <p>Gov. Tom Corbett delivered his fourth budget address midday Tuesday, calling for more than $900 million in additional state spending over the current fiscal year.<br /><br />A good chunk of Corbett’s proposed roughly 3 percent increase in state spending would go to education. About $300 million more would go toward a new block grant for schools, special education and early learning programs, and higher education scholarships.</p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 16:56:27 +0000 Mary Wilson & Deanna Garcia 23865 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Looks to Spend More, Relying on Unresolved Items State Lawmaker Wants to Take Drama Out of End-of-Session Budgeting Frenzy http://wesa.fm/post/state-lawmaker-wants-take-drama-out-end-session-budgeting-frenzy <p>A state representative wants to take all the drama out of the end-of session budgeting frenzy.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>Chester County Republican Dan Truitt is borrowing an idea that’s been offered before in the state Capitol.<br><br>In the event that no spending plan is finalized by July first, he proposes having the old budget “roll over” to set funding levels temporarily until a deal is hashed out.<br> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Mary Wilson 16088 at http://wesa.fm State Senate, House at Odds Over Last-Minute Addition to Budget-Related Bill http://wesa.fm/post/state-senate-house-odds-over-last-minute-addition-budget-related-bill <p>State Senate lawmakers are sending a budget-related bill to the governor’s desk, after a committee went along with a House move to remove Medicaid expansion from the measure.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>Republicans say adding the Medicaid plan back to the bill would have been wasted effort, since neither the House nor the governor is open to an expansion right now.<br>&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br>But Democratic Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia said he’s disappointed, since the earlier Medicaid expansion language passed in the Senate with bipartisan support. &nbsp;<br> Thu, 04 Jul 2013 11:38:24 +0000 Mary Wilson 12548 at http://wesa.fm State Budget Signed On Time, But Deadline Moves for Rest of Corbett's Agenda http://wesa.fm/post/state-budget-signed-time-deadline-moves-rest-corbetts-agenda <p>Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an on-time budget, but without any victories on his other top three legislative priorities.<br><br>Liquor privatization, transportation funding and pension overhaul will have to wait until the fall for further legislative action.<br><br>A transportation funding plan got stuck in the House. A bid to change how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania stalled in the Senate. Pension overhaul is a plan neither chamber is ready to advance.<br> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 11:10:01 +0000 Mary Wilson 12367 at http://wesa.fm State Budget Signed On Time, But Deadline Moves for Rest of Corbett's Agenda Poll Shows Voters Support More State Education Funding http://wesa.fm/post/poll-shows-voters-support-more-state-education-funding <p>An education funding advocacy group says it has polling data that shows Pennsylvanians place public education high on their priority list and would not mind paying higher income or sales taxes to better support school.</p><p>Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commissioned the Lake Researcher Partners poll.</p><p>The poll found that 56 percent of all respondents have a favorable opinion of public schools, and 48 percent said they were very concerned about funding for the schools.</p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:46:14 +0000 Mark Nootbaar 12002 at http://wesa.fm Crunch Time for Corbett's Agenda, and State Budget http://wesa.fm/post/crunch-time-corbetts-agenda-and-state-budget <p>The state budget deadline is days away, but the spending plan is practically an afterthought to lawmakers as Gov. Tom Corbett's other priorities remain unresolved.<br><br>A scaled-back pension overhaul proposal is advancing in the Senate and still needs House approval. But it's not the subject of intense disagreement between the chambers, as Senate GOP spokesman Erik Arneson notes is true of other items on the governor's to-do list, like transportation funding and liquor privatization.<br> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:56:45 +0000 Mary Wilson 11978 at http://wesa.fm Crunch Time for Corbett's Agenda, and State Budget Squabble over Business Tax as School Problems Loom Larger http://wesa.fm/post/squabble-over-business-tax-school-problems-loom-larger <p>Three big issues have dominated the state budget debate, but with less than two weeks before June 30, one lawmaker is suggesting poor schools are getting short shrift.<br><br>"Pensions, transportation, liquor — they're being resolved as we speak," said Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia). "Education has not been resolved, and it can actually affect whether we get a budget or not."<br> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:04:54 +0000 Mary Wilson 11681 at http://wesa.fm House Puts Off Budget Vote Until Wednesday http://wesa.fm/post/house-puts-budget-vote-until-wednesday <p>State House GOP leaders expect to send a $28.3 billion budget proposal to the Senate on Wednesday. The move is largely procedural, since closed-door budget negotiations are still ongoing.<br><br>The House was originally slated to vote on the spending plan late Tuesday afternoon. But since final remarks on the floor were expected to go on into the evening, the final vote was put off.<br><br>"We clearly have the votes. The votes aren't a question," said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery). "There's nobody getting beat up tonight, there's nobody getting sequestered."<br> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:19:14 +0000 Mary Wilson 11257 at http://wesa.fm Union Rallies Against Corbett's Budget, Pension Plans http://wesa.fm/post/union-rallies-against-corbetts-budget-pension-plans <p>An estimated 350 state and public sector workers rallied at the state Capitol Monday to call for more funding for education and human services.<br><br>Members of the Service Employees International Union also urged Gov. Tom Corbett to drop his calls for pension overhaul, which would include reducing the future benefits of current state and public school employees.<br> Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:54:36 +0000 Mary Wilson 11186 at http://wesa.fm House GOP Unveil $28.3 Billion Spending Plan http://wesa.fm/post/house-gop-unveil-283-billion-spending-plan <p>If the governor's budget address is the overture to budget negotiations, a proposal from the House Majority leadership is Act One.<br><br>State House Republicans are putting a bill in place for legislative action as spending negotiations get underway. The $28.3 billion dollar outline comes in at about $110 million less than the governor's budget.<br> Wed, 29 May 2013 17:10:56 +0000 Mary Wilson 10404 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Hesitant to Rank Legislative To-Do List http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-hesitant-rank-legislative-do-list <p>Gov. Tom Corbett is reluctant to pull any legislative issue from the very top of his crowded agenda.<br><br>But other legislative leaders appear more than happy to do it for him.<br><br>The governor has said he wants four things done before lawmakers leave for their summer recess: a budget, liquor privatization, a transportation funding package and an approved overhaul of the state’s two pension plans and the debt that comes with them. &nbsp;<br><br>Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the pension issue, however, is looking too complex and controversial to tackle by July.<br> Fri, 10 May 2013 19:57:52 +0000 Mary Wilson & WESA Staff 9345 at http://wesa.fm