January 13, 2016 |
TRENTON - Lawmakers reached agreement Monday on a proposed constitutional amendment to expand casinos to North Jersey, breaking a weeks-long impasse that exposed tensions within the state Democratic Party ahead of the 2017 governor's race. "This involved a great deal of compromise on the parts of all parties," Gov. Christie said at a Statehouse news conference, where he was joined by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D., Hudson), who were locked in a standoff over the issue.
January 5, 2016
Of all the things Pennsylvania 's divided government failed to fix in 2015 - the budget, pensions, schools, liquor sales - the one that leaves the business community feeling extra bemused is taxes. So many proposals: A natural gas extraction tax! An end to local property taxes, balanced by higher income taxes or broader sales taxes! Liquor-sale reform, to fund the cash-starved pensions! Special rates for business buildings! So far, it's none of the above. Gov. Wolf 's selective vetoes of the budget, his demands for more school funds, Republican insistence that new spending be paid for, and the lack of consensus on who should pay have business guessing.
December 26, 2015 |
When Moody's Investors Services downgraded the credit rating of the Philadelphia Corp. for Aging this week, it cited the tax-exempt organization's unwillingness to adjust to the lack of state funding during Harrisburg's nearly six-month budget stalemate. "I'm sorry, I'm not going to close programs," PCA's president, Holly Lange, said Thursday. "They can say I'm a poor manager, they can say whatever they want, I'm not going to close programs. " Instead, PCA has burned though a $10 million line of credit and a $4 million temporary increase in its credit line.
December 15, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Following a two-day break, House members returned to the Capitol on Sunday night and began positioning several budget-related bills for a full chamber vote, a step toward potentially ending the five-month-old budget stalemate. Still, significant questions remained about issues that have loomed large throughout the impasse, including which taxes might be raised to fund a $30.8 billion budget proposed by Gov. Wolf and Senate Republicans, and how $350 million in new school funding would be distributed as part of that plan.
December 3, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's budget impasse entered its sixth month Tuesday, with scant new details about what shape a final deal might take. Frustrated lawmakers emerged from closed-door meetings with few revelations about if, how, or where progress had been made. Some rank-and-file House members wondered aloud what they might eventually vote on, and when. "The devil is in the details," said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R., Bucks). "And we haven't gotten details. " Scott Petri, another Bucks County Republican, said it seemed as if rumors swirl faster in the Capitol than real information.
November 27, 2015 |
It seemed like an inevitable display of frustration after days of mixed messages from Harrisburg on the fate of the long-overdue state budget. On Wednesday morning, Delaware County officials called a news conference to announce that they might stop sending payments to the state - and use the cash to fund local human services programs already owed $40 million in overdue state aid. "How can [the state] keep our state parks open, our liquor stores open," said County Council member Dave White, "and not fund services to our young victims of abuse and neglect?"
November 8, 2015 |
More than 20 children enrolled at a cyber charter school are scrambling to make other arrangements after the school abruptly shuttered two tutoring centers Friday. Officials at the Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School said financial problems caused by Pennsylvania's budget stalemate prompted them to close the Brandywine Achievement Center in Exton and the Bridgeville Partner Tutoring Center in Allegheny County. A dozen students received regular help and tutoring at the Exton center; nine went to Bridgeville.
October 23, 2015 |
THE PHILADELPHIA School District will be forced to borrow millions of dollars to meet payroll through the end of the year because of the state budget impasse, officials said yesterday. With no end in sight to the stalemate between Gov. Wolf and Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg, the cash-strapped district - by far Pennsylvania's largest - is seeking a short-term loan to pay administrators, teachers and staff through December, according to spokesman Fernando Gallard. The size of the loan is unclear, Gallard said, as the district is still negotiating with lenders to determine its capacity to borrow.
October 23, 2015 |
The Coatesville Area School District is considering a line of credit. Garnet Valley might curtail or eliminate programs. Morrisville might not have enough money to pay all its bills. With Gov. Wolf saying this week that he would not advance money to struggling school districts as the state budget impasse drags on, those that rely heavily on state funding are taking increasingly desperate measures to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association has filed a Commonwealth Court suit against state officials who have been withholding portions of gambling revenue from cash-strapped districts that have stopped making payments to charter schools because of the money crunch.
September 14, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Counties, schools, and social service providers are slowly starting to see the impact of the state's three-month budget impasse. Many have dipped into their reserves, taken out loans, frozen hiring, or suspended services. Some predict layoffs by Thanksgiving. And with little hope of landing a real deal on a new spending plan, legislators are turning to a short-term fix: a stopgap budget authorizing the state to temporarily spend money. Republicans on Friday said they would introduce and vote on the measure this week in the Senate.