PA State Budget

Tyler Nienhouse / flickr

As a new school year gets underway how is the continued lack of a state budget impacting school districts in the region? Mike Crossey, the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association says political "games" in Harrisburg are beginning to affect local schools in a negative way.  

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Many Pennsylvania public schools are starting the school year with a worried eye toward Harrisburg.

Some are putting off bills. Some plan to borrow money. But Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said Monday he's not sure how much longer the budget impasse can continue before school operations are compromised.

Commonwealth Foundation's Take on Budget Talks

Aug 13, 2015
Chris Knight / AP Images

The pace of budget negotiations between Governor Wolf and leaders in the GOP dominated legislature seems to be picking up. The two sides have been at odds over their respective versions of the state budget which is now six weeks overdue. Matt Brouillette, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank, joins us to talk about what conservatives want in the state budget.  

How The Budget Impasse Is Impacting Local Service Agencies

Jul 23, 2015
David Flores / flickr

With the state budget stalemate no closer to being resolved, the Conference of Allegheny Providers (CAP) and several Westmoreland County agency representatives are highlighting the local impacts, and in some cases the dire consequences, of a lengthy impasse on social service agencies and the people they serve. Former state legislator Allen Kukovich and Stephen Christian-Michaels, President and CEO of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania  join us in studio.

Trying To Control The Message During The Budget Standstill

Jul 20, 2015
Dave Newman / flickr

  

As the budget stalemate continues in Harrisburg, Republicans in the legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf are engaged in a battle to make sure the voters get their message about who is responsible. Essential Pittsburgh broke down how the media war is being waged with Jeff Ritter, chair of media, communications and technology at La Roche College.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

More than a week after the budget deadline passed for Pennsylvania legislators, it’s become clear that very little progress has been made in negotiation efforts between the governor and Republican majority. Governor Tom Wolf wants to see increases to the personal income and sales tax to help fund his property tax plan for schools and homeowners, however legislators on the right believe that money would be better in the pockets of Pennsylvanians.  Keystone Research Center Executive Director Stephen Herzenberg and Commonwealth Foundation Director of Policy Analysis Liz Stelle provide an economic analysis of the two proposed budgets as well as their thoughts on President Obama’s overtime salary threshold changes. (starts at 14:59)

Chris Knight / AP Images

Shortly after a $30 billion budget was approved in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the entire plan.  He’s the first governor in 40 years to turn down an entire budget proposal.The governor tells us why he decided to veto the plan and what he’d like to see change about the next proposal. Wolf says he speaks on behalf of the compromises needed to be made from both sides to get the next budget proposal underway: 

"The job now is to bring those two points together because whether we like it or not Pennsylvanians voted for divided government and we both have to agree in the end... to come to a place that we can all agree will make Pennsylvania better. We all know we need a budget, we all know we're gonna have to agree and we're gonna have to do that as quickly as we possibly can." - Governor Tom Wolf

 

Also in the program, as The Salvation Army turns 150 years old, discover how the charity has evolved over the years and how they'll be celebrating their anniversary. WESA Celebrates reports a lesser-known story of the Homestead strike, the possibility of larger fireworks being legal in our state will be addressed and our travel contributor shares her favorite 4th of July weekend getaways.

AP Images

Today is the deadline for Pennsylvania lawmakers to submit a budget to Governor Tom Wolf. With no compromise in sight, many legislators have already prepped for negotiations to continue into the week. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader David Reed provides his thoughts on the big issues standing between the Republican party and the governor's office.

Reed responds to the accusations that Democrat input was not included in the house budget:

"It’s just not a situation where there’s complete agreement on how to move forward...we have taken the responsibility to meet our June 30th deadline very seriously, so we put together a budget proposal that had majority support in the House and the Senate on increasing funding for education, balancing the budget, and doing so without any new taxes going forward, and we will send it to the governor later on today." -David Reed   

Also, the U.S. Women’s World Cup team heads to the semi-finals, including a Pittsburgh-area player. We'll examine soccer's growing fan base in Pittsburgh, then Joe Wos takes a classic and adds a Pittsburgh twist in his new book The Three Little Pigsburghers. 

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The tentative optimism about a timely state budget is giving way to partisan backbiting as lawmakers enter the last week before their deadline to approve a state spending plan.

Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-controlled Legislature appear to be stuck, both sides unwilling to compromise major priorities tied up with the state’s spending plan due June 30.

Tim Lambert / WITF

As Governor Tom Wolf prepares to introduce his first budget as Pennsylvania’s governor, two state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would limit state spending – with the ultimate goal of leaving the issue up to the voters. The bill, introduced by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-Greene) would tie the spending limit to the growth of the population and inflation.

“That percentage is all that the budget can grow,” said Bartolotta, “when there’s an excess in that, 25 percent of that will go back to the taxpayers, 25 percent will go to Rainy Day Fund and 50 percent of that excess will go to pay down the pension problem.”

The change is needed, according to Bartolotta, because general fund spending has more than tripled over the past 30 years.

“The population’s only grown by 7.7 percent and unfortunately the budget has grown to over 1,010 percent in that amount of time,” she said.

Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion budget passed by state lawmakers last week. He said he would not sign a budget that does not include a pension overhaul.

Explaining Governor Corbett's Budget Battle

Jul 2, 2014
Capitol Media Service

Budgets often lead to some of the most contentious battles within government, and the approval for the Pennsylvania’s $29.1 billion budget is shaping up to follow suit.

The budget was approved by lawmakers on Monday night, hours before the end of Pennsylvania’s fiscal year, but Governor Tom Corbett refused to sign the budget sent to him.

He said he would withhold his signature until the General Assembly made a decision regarding pension cuts, adding that the budget “does not address all the difficult choices that still need to be made.”

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a $29.1 billion state budget late Monday to the fanfare of Republicans and jeers of Democrats. Gov. Tom Corbett has yet to sign the budget, citing a lack of a pension overhaul.

Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) is one of many Democrats displeased with the bill.

A roughly $29.1 billion state budget is poised for final votes in the House and Senate Monday. The plan includes no new taxes, and appears likely to go to the governor before the midnight deadline. Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans are noting the number of one-time funding sources and optimistic tax revenue forecasts baked into the plan. The proposed spending blueprint relies on nearly $250 million in transfers from funds for small business loans and other programs.

Breaking Down Corbett's Budget Proposal

Feb 5, 2014
pa.gov

Governor Tom Corbett delivered his fourth budget address Tuesday, calling for more than $900 million in additional state spending over the current fiscal year.

A sizable portion of Corbett's roughly three percent increase in state spending would go to education. Is this year's version of the governor's budget really the "pivot point" that Budget Secretary Charles Zogby is calling it?

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review capitol reporter Brad Bumsted points out that the budget has supporters and critics. Senator Tim Pawlenty showed support for the budget plan by declaring the latest speech as the best budget speech of Corbett's tenure. But how does Corbett plan on completing this budget plan without raising taxes?

According to Bumsted, “his budget director says its by anticipating 4% revenue growth with a number of one-time fixes and continuing fixes. But some of the things he is counting on requires approval outside of his control."

Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday announced an additional $10 million in funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts.

“Every child in this state should be, ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to succeed, and my budget sets an agenda in that spirit,” Corbett said.

90.5 WESA

Following a “bad weekend” with the collapse of his agenda, Governor Tom Corbett signed a nearly $29 billion state budget Sunday night.  Controversial issues including liquor privatization and allocations for transportation funding remain in the Legislature until the fall, prompting a close examination of these pressing topics and the motivations behind both parties in both the House and Senate.