May 4, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - The next state budget is not due for two months, but after last year's gridlock, legislators on Monday took a step toward preventing a repeat of the stalemate that kept school funding bottled up for months. Returning after a two-week recess, members of the House Education Committee approved a bill that would keep school funds flowing if a budget is not enacted by Aug. 15 - six weeks after the next fiscal year starts July 1. The governor's office and Republican legislative leaders were not admitting the need for such an insurance policy.
March 26, 2016 |
The crisis over Atlantic City's tapped-out cash reserves intensified in a 10-hour war of words Thursday, with the governor, mayor, and Assembly speaker all digging in to a stalemate that could shut City Hall from April 8 to May 2 and threatens to send the city off a financial cliff. But first, this being A.C., a word about the city's big Beer Fest, also scheduled for April 8: It's still on. In fact, said Mayor Don Guardian, nearly all 900 city workers, including police, fire, and public works, have agreed to work without pay when a broke government folds its cards for three weeks.
March 25, 2016
With no resolution to Pennsylvania's record nine-month budget impasse in sight and with public schools contemplating closure, Gov. Wolf has succumbed to Republican obstruction and agreed to a plan that keeps the state in the fast lane toward fiscal instability and educational decline. In the end, he was abandoned by fellow Democrats in the legislature who pleaded with him to accept a fiscally indefensible budget rather than keep trudging toward the end of the fiscal year with no budget at all. Of the many disappointments of this budget, the greatest is its failure to address the state's structural deficit, the stark difference between the state's spending and receipts.
March 25, 2016 |
In an unexpected and possibly unprecedented move, Gov. Wolf on Wednesday said he would let the latest $30 billion Republican spending plan become law, ending Pennsylvania's historic 266-day budget impasse. At a news conference in Harrisburg, Wolf reversed course on a promised veto by saying he would neither sign nor reject the proposal sent to him by legislators. Without either, it automatically becomes law Monday morning. Wolf said the Republican budget math "doesn't work" and he was loath "to put my name on something that I don't believe is exactly what we ought to have.
March 17, 2016
By Berwood A. Yost Why don't we have a state budget? The answer is neither short nor simple. Pennsylvania's budget impasse is the direct result of three state policy failures: the failure to find the reliable funding sources that state government needs to operate, the failure to reduce the spending growth that existing laws require, and the failure to support reforms that make elections more competitive. Corporate taxes as a share of general-fund revenues have steadily declined because the amount of money generated by those taxes has remained, in inflation-adjusted terms, unchanged since 1988.
March 17, 2016 |
Pennsylvania's lengthy budget impasse has caused the commission that accredits colleges regionally to question Temple and three other area universities about their ability to stay in compliance without a collective $600 million in state funding they have yet to receive. Temple, Pennsylvania State and Lincoln Universities, and the University of Pittsburgh must by April 10 provide a report on the effect the budget impasse has had on their operations, and detail their contingency plans.
March 14, 2016
The spectacular failure of Gov. Wolf and the legislature to deliver a budget has put every home, business, and school in Pennsylvania at risk. Without a better resolution to Pennsylvania's nine-month budget crisis, there are only bad choices to make: Raise property taxes. Cut programs for the most vulnerable citizens - the elderly, disabled, and young. Lay off school workers, and perhaps shutter schools, before June. It's been weeks since legislative leaders and Wolf met face to face.
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.