March 17, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - In yet another turn of the political carousel that is the still-unapproved state budget, Gov. Wolf said Wednesday that he would veto the latest spending plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. "Republican leaders are once again insistent on passing another irresponsible and unbalanced budget that does not fund our schools or fix the deficit," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "This is further indication that the Republican leaders have no intention of working together with me to produce a final budget.
March 2, 2016
By Mark Krikorian Sanctuary cities are a menace to public safety. A recent move in the House of Representatives to cut their funding is long overdue. There are more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide, including cities like New York, counties like Chicago's Cook County, and even whole states like California. These jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities and release deportable criminals back onto the streets. In 2014, more than 9,000 criminals who entered the country illegally and whom the Department of Homeland Security wanted to deport were released instead because of local sanctuary policies, according to the department's records.
December 31, 2015
TO BEGIN WITH, the budget the Republican Legislature passed last week and left on the governor's desk was as phony as a three-dollar bill. The $30.3 billion budget pretended to be balanced, but it was not. It exceeded available revenue by $300 million. It pretended to fund all vital state services, but it did not. The Legislature sort of forgot to include $550 million in state support for Temple, Pitt and Penn State. The budget pretended to increase state funding for education, but it did not. It added more money to the basic education subsidy, while taking away a $304 million item to help school district's pay construction and repair bills.
December 24, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - In a dramatic twist, the Pennsylvania House reversed course Tuesday and positioned itself to vote on the $30.8 billion state spending plan backed by Gov. Wolf and Senate Republicans, setting up a possible sprint to end the months-long budget impasse by Christmas. The shift came a day after the Republican-controlled House proposed a temporary budget and Wolf vowed to veto that plan if it reached his desk. During a chaotic floor session Tuesday, House members suddenly abandoned their so-called stopgap proposal by a 100-99 vote, moving instead to consider the budget that the Senate has already passed.
December 12, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Senate on Thursday passed nearly all the final pieces of a long-overdue budget plan, including a bill that would let consumers for the first time purchase wine in some supermarkets and restaurants, and legislation to distribute $350 million in new school funding. The liquor bill calls for enabling licensed supermarkets, restaurants, and bars to sell as many as four bottles of wine to customers. The education measure would spread more money to schools this year using a blend of approaches favored both by Gov. Wolf and the Republican-led Senate.
December 9, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House and Senate took radically different steps Monday toward resolving the state's five-month-old budget impasse, placing the chambers on seemingly separate tracks just days after they had been working together on a final agreement. During a brief and nearly debate-free session, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a $30.8 billion spending plan that reflects many aspects of the so-called framework agreement announced by Gov. Wolf and Republican leaders before Thanksgiving.
August 26, 2015 |
AT THE CLOSE of every session, my colleagues and I hear a familiar patter, signaling the end of a legislative day, and we exit to the refrain that is now ringing in my mind: "The House will stand in recess until [some future date], unless sooner recalled by the speaker. " As Republican House leadership hollowly tries to blame Gov. Wolf for Pennsylvania's current budget failure, perhaps they should be pointing fingers closer to home. While it is true that Gov. Wolf vetoed the Republicans' budget bill - an anemic, retread of a budget that would have worsened the commonwealth's fiscal situation - there is one person who has the power to get House lawmakers back to work and craft a better budget for Pennsylvania: the speaker of the House.
July 3, 2015
AS EXPECTED, Gov. Wolf this week vetoed the $30.2 billion budget passed by legislative Republicans, saying that it was filled with "gimmicks . . . smoke and mirrors and a lot of kick the can down the road. " That is a long string of clichés, but the governor was right. The Republican budget balanced on paper, but did so by shortchanging public education and pillaging various state funds that were supposed to be dedicated to such things as school construction and child-welfare payments.
July 9, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania budget deadline has come and gone, with critical pieces of legislation still in limbo - including the fiscal blueprint itself and the much-anticipated Philadelphia cigarette tax - and tension rising again in the Capitol. A week after its passage by the legislature, Gov. Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion general appropriations bill for 2014-15. Nor has the General Assembly finalized a key budget-related bill - the fiscal code - that directs spending for schools and hundreds of other items.
June 26, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - A House panel on Tuesday advanced a $29.1 billion budget, setting the stage for final negotiations with the Senate and Gov. Corbett on the 2014-15 spending plan. The Appropriations Committee voted, 21-14, along party lines to move the proposal to the House floor, but it is likely to undergo significant changes before reaching Corbett's desk. The bill proposes to close a $1.5 billion budget gap by transferring funds from other sources, including the sale of state liquor stores - a plan that hasn't materialized.