If you were expecting progress on the FY 2016-17 state budget this week, you would be disappointed. On the other hand, if you expected more threats if this or that isn’t done along with the budget, then you hit the target.
With just 39 days left before the next state budget is theoretically due, House and Senate Republicans took Gov. Wolf to task for doing what he said he would do for weeks-- veto House Bill 805 (Bloom R-Cumberland) giving school districts the option to furlough people based on merit rather than seniority.
The day before giving the bill to the Governor, Senate and House Republicans held a press conference where Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said, “If [the Governor] does not sign it, it’s something we will be advocating for as part of the budget process.”
Jeff Sheridan, the Governor’s spokesperson said in response, "At a time when many of our schools are still a long way away from seeing their full funding restored to 2011-12 levels, our focus should not be on how to conduct mass layoffs.”
Asked about budget negotiations generally, Sen. Corman said the hope is to get a budget to the governor’s desk by June 30, but significant five-party discussions have not occurred in several weeks.
No, Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” was nowhere in sight, but Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin) announced he would introduce a package of bills he called “Judgement Day” designed to avoid another lengthy budget impasse.
Ultimately, the bills call for an automatic recall election for the Governor, Lt. Governor and all members of the Senate and House, if a state budget was not completed by December 31.
A Raise For Russell Crowe With Your Tax Dollars?
The PLS Reporter this week reported there is a movement afoot to take tens of millions more scarce state taxpayer dollars and give them to Russell Crowe and Sigourney Weaver to make movies and TV shows in Pennsylvania. (Well, not just to Crowe and Weaver.)
While food banks beg for money, libraries cut hours, potholes go unfilled and 19,000 miles of streams are polluted, Rep. Paul Costa (D-Allegheny)-- House Bill 1448-- and Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny)-- Senate Bill 219-- want to increase the Film Tax Credit from $60 million a year to $125 million a year, for the sake of economic development they say.
In the past, the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credits have been used to fund movie hits like Zack and Miri Make a Porno and to support the QVC Home Shopping Network.
Even though a 2009 Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report found “there is a net fiscal loss” when comparing the taxes generated by productions and the cost of the tax credits, many starry-eyed legislators still want to promote these increases.
It’s interesting to note one of the biggest movies ever filmed in Pennsylvania-- Batman: The Dark Knight Rises-- didn’t use a penny of the state tax credits.Hurry! Hurry! Just 39 more days to take advantage of this bargain!!