July 11, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf on Thursday vetoed the Republican-backed pension reform plan, striking down the final piece of a trifecta of budget bills from the GOP-controlled legislature. Wolf said that he understood the need for reining in the skyrocketing cost of public-employee pensions, but that "this legislation provides no immediate cost savings to taxpayers and does not maximize long-term savings for taxpayers. " "We need pension reform that works," Wolf said in a statement.
May 14, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Two measures dealing with issues that are key to any state budget deal - property taxes and pensions - began moving through the legislature Tuesday, with lawmakers pushing for swift action on both. The House began debate on a multibillion-dollar property-tax relief measure whose prospects are uncertain, while the Senate is poised to vote on a Republican-backed proposal to rein in the cost of public-employee pensions. Both bills are up for final passage Wednesday, after which legislators will break until June, when budget talks with Gov. Wolf will begin in earnest.
April 9, 2015
I'M FEELING a little sorry for the Republican Party these days. For one thing, it can't really play in the mayor's race. And I mean no offense to Melissa Murray Bailey (the GOP candidate, in case you're wondering). For another thing, the party seems intent on reprising its off-message messes at the national and maybe even the state level. Doesn't it seem as if the national plan, as trotted out in Indiana, is stopping gays from getting married? Message: If only we could keep lesbians from buying bridal bouquets in Bloomington, the country could get back on track.
April 8, 2015
For one thing, it can't really play in the mayor's race. And I mean no offense to Melissa Murray Bailey (the GOP candidate, in case you're wondering). For another thing, the party seems intent on reprising its off-message messes at the national and maybe even the state level. Doesn't it seem as if the national plan, as trotted out in Indiana, is stopping gays from getting married? Message: If only we could keep lesbians from buying bridal bouquets in Bloomington, the country could get back on track.
March 25, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - No pension reform, no state budget. A top Senate Republican said Monday that if Gov. Wolf doesn't address the state's skyrocketing pension costs during budget negotiations with the legislature, there will be no budget. Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) said that reining in the cost of public employee pensions is a priority, and that he and his colleagues will not pass a spending plan if it is not addressed. "We are not doing a budget without it," Corman said during a monthly press club luncheon in Harrisburg, comparing the state's pension problem to a "tsunami" that has already reached land.
March 3, 2015
By Kevin Shivers At his inauguration, Gov. Wolf said: "We need leaders today who are willing to listen to each other and learn from each other. " Since taking office, Wolf has been working behind the scenes and visiting with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to establish working relationships. He's also met with many outside groups to hear their concerns. On Tuesday, Wolf will have the opportunity to lay out his agenda and present his first budget proposal in a speech before the General Assembly.
January 21, 2015 |
New governors tend to dwell on the superlative difficulty of the job ahead, if only to lower expectations and impugn their predecessors. In Tom Wolf's case, however, the requisite doomsaying has the distinction of being somewhat grounded in reality. Wolf is taking over a state government with a more than $2 billion budget deficit, a $47 billion unfunded pension liability, and battered credit ratings that rank among the bottom three states. The commonwealth's sluggish economic and employment growth don't seem likely to help soon.
January 6, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The ceremonial start to the 2015-16 legislative session begins Tuesday in the Capitol with the swearing in of House and Senate lawmakers - including nine newcomers from the southeast. The governor-elect, Democrat Tom Wolf, does not take office until Jan. 20. What will happen in the intervening weeks is as yet unresolved, with House and Senate leaders saying they are leaving the door open on scheduling voting days while Gov. Corbett is still in office. The prospect of the GOP-controlled legislature's rushing through controversial bills with a lame-duck Republican governor raised hackles among Democrats last month.
December 5, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - A top official with the outgoing Corbett administration and incoming Gov.-elect Tom Wolf agree on this much: The state will head into 2015 with a roughly $2 billion shortfall looming for next year's budget. But while Budget Secretary Charles Zogby pointed to sluggish revenues and increasing costs, Wolf blamed it on Gov. Corbett's "failed ideology. " Their dueling briefings Wednesday offered a preview of what could be a rocky start for the new Democratic governor as he wrangles with a GOP-led legislature.
December 4, 2014
PSST . . . Want a little fun fact about your Legislature? Get this: The 2015-16 legislative session is underway. Yep, started Monday. State Constitution says so. And even though lawmakers aren't sworn in and won't be until Jan. 6, they're already drawing pay - 'cause that's just how they roll. All 253 House and Senate members, including those newly elected last month, get paid the first of the month, including the first of this month. Put another way, the nation's largest full-time legislature, legally in session but not actually in session, gets a payday in time for the holidays more than a month before being sworn in to office.