State Budget

Government & Politics
10:02 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Corbett Shrugs Off Possibility Lawmakers Will Sue Over Blocked Earmarks

Gov. Tom Corbett is shrugging off the possibility state lawmakers will sue him for blocking their earmarks earlier this month.

Legislative leaders say the line-item veto of seven-point-two million dollars in projects was unconstitutional.

They could try to override the veto with a two-thirds vote, or sue the administration.

Corbett said he doesn’t think a court battle is likely, though he’s not troubled by the possibility.

"Let them sue me," he said. "Last time I looked, that’s in the constitution, isn’t it?"

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Government & Politics
4:11 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Partial Veto of Projects Could Prompt Lawsuit

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.

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.

Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett did that.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:45 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Strong and Decisive, Corbett Takes A Stand Against the Legislature

In a press conference this morning, Tom Corbett announced he signed the budget, but line-item vetoed about $72 million.
Credit 90.5 WESA

On the eve of the state budget deadline, Governor Tom Corbett announced Thursday that he had signed the $29 billion state spending plan, but line-item vetoed $65 million in legislative spending.

The Governor is blaming budget problems on pension costs and called on the legislature to come back and enact pension reform.

Penn Live’s John Micek said he expected that Corbett’s announcement would include the line-item veto, so he was not surprised with the outcome. 

Micek was instead surprised by Corbett's demeanor.

“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.”

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State Government
10:57 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Corbett Signs Budget, But Cuts Off General Assembly Funds

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.

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.

Instead, he said the Assembly increased its $320 million budget by two percent – which he said would cost taxpayers an additional $5 million.

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Government & Politics
7:55 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Pension Overhaul Spiked As Corbett Stalls

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.

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.

“There are too many unanswered questions about the proposal and about the amendment that we have before us,” said DiGirolamo.

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Government & Politics
3:12 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Democrats Slam State Budget

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.

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Government & Politics
7:51 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Corbett Withholds Signature On Budget For Pension Overhaul

Gov. Tom Corbett is holding off on signing the $29.1 billion commonwealth budget approved by state lawmakers Monday evening.

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.

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.

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Government & Politics
10:55 am
Thu June 26, 2014

House Sends Budget To Senate As Tax Talks Continue

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.

House Republicans heralded the proposal as a reflection of their priorities: holding the line on spending, without raising taxes, and passed before July.

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Government & Politics
7:53 am
Wed June 25, 2014

House Panel Links Budget To Liquor Privatization

With about a week left before the state budget deadline, House lawmakers have advanced an actual spending plan.

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.

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.

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Government & Politics
11:23 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Nothing But Questions As the June Budget Deadline Nears

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.

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.

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Government & Politics
4:47 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Corbett Shrugs Off June 30 Budget Deadline

Gov. Tom Corbett says he’ll make do with a late budget this year and possibly renege on his no-taxes campaign pledge.  

“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.”

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Government & Politics
7:58 am
Tue June 17, 2014

House, Senate GOP Leaders Not Expecting To Meet End-Of-June Budget Deadline

It’s shaping up to be a longer-than-usual work calendar for state lawmakers negotiating the commonwealth’s budget.

House and Senate Republican leaders aren’t expecting to meet the state constitution’s end-of-June budget deadline.

“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.”

When pressed for more details (for example: just how far should lawmakers and staff push back holiday plans?), Pileggi was reticent.

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Government & Politics
7:13 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Budget Talks Begin As Revenue Shortfall Gets Wider

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.

A projected $1.2 billion deficit is likely to grow, as May tax collections have been lackluster.

“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.”

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Education
6:18 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Corbett Touts STEM Funding in 2015-16 Budget Proposal

Gov. Tom Corbett toured Carnegie Science Center to promote STEM education investments in his proposed 2015-16 budget.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett was in Pittsburgh Monday, touring the Carnegie Science Center and touting his 2015-16 budget proposal, which he says includes funds mean to boost student achievement in STEM fields.

“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.

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State Government
11:56 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Corbett Looks to Spend More, Relying on Unresolved Items

Gov. Tom Corbett makes his budget proposal to state lawmakers Tuesday.
Credit pa.gov

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.

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.

The proposal also calls for continuing the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax on business holdings, erasing the levy by 2016.

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Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

State Lawmaker Wants to Take Drama Out of End-of-Session Budgeting Frenzy

A state representative wants to take all the drama out of the end-of session budgeting frenzy.
    
Chester County Republican Dan Truitt is borrowing an idea that’s been offered before in the state Capitol.

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.

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Government & Politics
7:38 am
Thu July 4, 2013

State Senate, House at Odds Over Last-Minute Addition to Budget-Related Bill

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.
    
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.
    
But Democratic Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia said he’s disappointed, since the earlier Medicaid expansion language passed in the Senate with bipartisan support.  

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Government & Politics
7:10 am
Mon July 1, 2013

State Budget Signed On Time, But Deadline Moves for Rest of Corbett's Agenda

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an on-time budget, but he can claim zero victories on his other top priorities: liquor privatization, transportation funding or pension overhaul.
Credit Mary Wilson / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an on-time budget, but without any victories on his other top three legislative priorities.

Liquor privatization, transportation funding and pension overhaul will have to wait until the fall for further legislative action.

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.

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State Budget
5:46 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Poll Shows Voters Support More State Education Funding

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.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commissioned the Lake Researcher Partners poll.

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.

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State Government
6:56 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Crunch Time for Corbett's Agenda, and State Budget

As the state budget deadline looms, lawmakers are still considering Gov. Tom Corbett's "big three" priorities: pension reforms, transportation funding and liquor reform.
Credit 90.5 WESA

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.

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.

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State Government
12:04 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Squabble over Business Tax as School Problems Loom Larger

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.

"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."

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State Government
7:19 am
Wed June 12, 2013

House Puts Off Budget Vote Until Wednesday

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.

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.

"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."

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State Government
6:54 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Union Rallies Against Corbett's Budget, Pension Plans

An estimated 350 state and public sector workers rallied at the state Capitol Monday to call for more funding for education and human services.

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.

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State Government
1:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

House GOP Unveil $28.3 Billion Spending Plan

If the governor's budget address is the overture to budget negotiations, a proposal from the House Majority leadership is Act One.

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.

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State Government
3:57 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Corbett Hesitant to Rank Legislative To-Do List

Gov. Tom Corbett is reluctant to pull any legislative issue from the very top of his crowded agenda.

But other legislative leaders appear more than happy to do it for him.

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.  

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