Saturday, December 19, 2015

Pension Bill Fails, Stopgap Budget Coming, Tax Code Conference Committee In Offing

Pointing to the failure of the House to pass the pension reform bill Saturday, House Majority Leader David Reed (R-Indiana) announced on the Floor the House would consider a stopgap budget bill when the House reconvenes.  The House will reconvene Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
The House Appropriations Committee was to meet immediately after session to start the stopgap budget process, but the meeting is postpone to give Senate and House leadership the opportunity to meet.
Senate Republicans & Democrats, House Democrats and the Governor have all opposed a stopgap budget in the past (as of a few days ago at least).
Pension Bill
The House failed to pass the House-amended pension reform bill-- Senate Bill 1071 (Browne-R-Lehigh)-- by a vote of 52 to 149.  
Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware), Majority Chair of the Appropriations Committee, said earlier in Committee Gov. Wolf would sign the bill.
Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) opposed the bill in Committee saying it would cost taxpayers $2.3 billion over the next 30 years and only save the employee retirement funds $2.7 billion.  Click Here for an analysis of the pension bill by House Democrats.
House Democrats opposed reporting the bill out of the House Appropriations Committee, but it was reported out anyway by a vote of 22 to 15.
A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.
Tax Code Bill
The House voted 173 to 27 to nonconcur on House Bill 1198 (Dunbar-R- Westmoreland), the Tax Code bill.  A few minutes later, the Senate came back to session to insist on its amendments setting up a Tax Code conference committee on the taxes needed to fund the “agreed-to” $30.8 billion General Fund budget.
Senate Republicans earlier said they would only vote for the budget if it was accompanied by the pension reform bill, so it is unclear at this writing what impact the failure in the House will have on the “agreed-to” budget framework.
Rep. Bill Adolph, Majority Chair House Appropriations Committee, told PA Legislative Services: "I don't think anyone really knows what the tax package is going to be."
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) attempted to amend the bill to adopt a 3.2 percent severance tax on natural gas, but could not as a result of a procedural vote.
PLS: Markosek Says House Dems Never Agreed With Pension Bill

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