Friday, May 17, 2013

May 20 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The May 20 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

Senate, House Fall Behind Last Year In Acting On Budget Bills

By this time last year, the Senate had already passed its version of the state budget (actually on May 9) and the House had already gone through a bruising two and a half hour Appropriations Committee meeting leading to a floor vote on June 4.
So far this year there has been zero action on the budget in either chamber.  The Senate and House will return to voting session June 3 with the Senate having 14 voting days scheduled and the House 15 in June.
On Wednesday Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware), Majority Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, announced the House Republican version of the state budget would be introduced on May 28, considered by the Committee on June 3 and debated on the House Floor the week of June 10.
He noted the House Republican budget bill will not include any provisions for legislation not yet signed into law.
This means there will be even more cuts to the state budget, if no other measures are taken, without the anticipated savings of steps like enacting pension reform which is worth about $300 million, according to Gov. Corbett.
No doubt one of the problems stalling the budget is a report by the The Independent Fiscal Office two weeks ago saying its latest state revenue estimates show budget makers will face a $520 million deficit in developing the FY 2013-14 state budget-- a $242 million deficit from FY 2012-13 and a $278 million deficit in FY 2013-14.
Of course the other problems are the Governor’s call for the General Assembly to enact pension reform legislation that would reduce state pension payments in next year’s budget by over $300 million.
Or, it could be getting agreement on a transportation funding packaging between the Senate, House and the Governor.  The Senate has already moved a $2.5 billion funding plan out of Committee and is positioning it for a final vote when they come back to session that is almost $800 million more than the Governor’s proposal.
Not far away is the Governor’s insistence the General Assembly pass a liquor privatization plan to return the sale of liquor to private businesses.  The House has passed its version, but Senate Republican leadership is not that excited by the whole thing.
Hey! Maybe the state could buy a Powerball lottery ticket!  The jackpot is worth over $600 million May 18!
Presque Isle Groups Hears Federal Funding Concerns

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