The Senate and House will convene to open the 2017-18 Legislative Session on January 3 to swear in new and returning members, adopt Senate and House operating rules, appoint members to standing committees and generally party.
Members face the same issues this year they have every year for the past decade-- a state budget deficit-- this time an estimated $2.2 billion, pension reform, gaming and liquor issues and property tax reform.
What’s different is Senate Republicans now have a veto-proof majority so they, at least, can pass almost anything they can agree to inside their Caucus, which at times can be tricky-- budgets, liquor reform and gaming come to mind.
The House has more Republican members, which should make things a little more flexible, but only just a little.
Senate and Republican House Leadership had to cross the aisle to get a few Democratic votes to pass the FY 2016-17 budget and revenue package in July, for example, because some conservative Republican members would not support it.
And this year, there are more conservative members.
Gov. Wolf has already said he will propose a no tax increase FY 2017-18 budget on February 7 which he said he will balance with cuts and efficiencies.
Welcome to the new session, much like the old session!
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