Friday, July 7, 2017

Senate, House Return To Harrisburg To Pay Piper

The House returned to voting session Friday and the Senate plans to start a 4 day session run on Saturday to do the hard part of state budgeting-- paying for the $31.996 billion General Fund budget the passed on June 30 and overcoming a $2.2 billion budget without raising broad-based taxes.
Drew Crompton, chief of staff for Senate President Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), said Thursday in a Tweet-- “If age 50 is the new 40, then July 10th is the new June 30th” -- in legislative time of course.
Lawmakers and Gov. Wolf are working against a midnight July 10 deadline to take final action on the last pieces of the budget, but as always, deadlines don’t mean that much in Harrisburg.
At midnight Monday, the Commonwealth ceases to have the ability to spend money unless the General Fund budget bill-- House Bill 218 (Saylor-R-York)--  is signed into law by Gov. Wolf or allowed to become law without his signature as the last two budgets have.
In play to be amended to implement the final budget agreement (whatever it is) are the Code bills: Fiscal Code and Administrative Code-- bills where anything and everything has been added in the past; Tax Code, Education and Human Resources Codes and gaming and liquor bills as needed.
The Senate and House Republicans have also said clearly they will be doing transfers from special funds to the General Fund, but have not yet identified the special funds they will target.
Also on the chopping block are the amounts authorized for a variety of tax credit programs that House Republicans have said they want to cut to eliminate “corporate welfare.”
Anything and everything is on the table.  Stay tuned!
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