- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The latest on the efforts by the Pennsylvania Legislature to pass budget bills and related legislation to end a 5-month-old stalemate that has shut off state aid to counties, schools and social services organizations.

___

2:27 p.m.

A House Republican budget plan is headed for consideration by the full chamber after a party-line vote in committee.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 22 to 15 on Monday for a Republican bill about an hour after a rival budget passed the Senate with votes from both parties.

The $30.3 billion House Republican alternative increases education funding less than the $30.8 billion Senate-passed proposal would.

Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph says it would be funded with about $309 million in new taxes on tobacco products and licensing fees from gambling. The House Republican plan also would apply the state’s personal income tax to lottery winnings.

Democrats say they’re supporting the Senate-passed approach, and didn’t get any time to fully analyze the House Republican bill.

Adolph says the House could vote on it as early as Tuesday.

___

1:25 p.m.

A $30.8 billion spending bill and legislation to scale back benefits in Pennsylvania’s two mammoth public-sector pension systems are through the Senate and headed to the House, where they face an uncertain future amid efforts to end a 5-month-old stalemate.

The budget bill passed, 43-7, on Monday, receiving wide bipartisan support. The pension legislation passed, 38-12.

Both documents passed the Republican-controlled Senate less than 24 hours after becoming public.

Wolf, a Democrat, has agreed to sign the Senate legislation after securing an agreement to raises taxes to deliver a record boost in aid to public schools and narrow a long-term budget deficit.

Senate Republicans say the pension legislation will lessen taxpayer risk by introducing a 401(k)-style plan component. It also scales back benefits for current employees, prompting a union lawsuit threat.

However, the Senate hasn’t settled on a tax package to support the spending, and its House fate remains uncertain, where Republicans could advance their own plan later Monday.

___

12:50 p.m.

A proposal that could end Pennsylvania’s 5-month-old state budget stalemate is through the Senate and headed to the House, where rank-and-file Republicans are pushing back against a deal GOP leaders helped negotiate.

The bill passed, 43-7, on Monday, receiving wide bipartisan support. Senate officials made little analysis or detail of the plan available, and the 121-page document passed less than 24 hours after it became public.

The $30.8 billion plan includes a $350 million increase in aid to public schools, both a 6 percent increase over last year.

Wolf, a Democrat, agreed to sign the bill after securing an agreement to raises taxes to deliver a record boost in aid to public schools and narrow a long-term budget deficit. However, the Senate hasn’t settled on a tax package to support the spending, and its House fate remains uncertain.

___

12:15 p.m.

A proposal that could end Pennsylvania’s 5-month-old state budget stalemate is being debated in the state Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman asked his colleagues to support the plan as floor debate got underway Monday.

Corman is acknowledging his fellow Republicans in the House aren’t on board, but he says people are tired of the debate and the bill could bring the standoff to an end.

He says it represents positive movement in key areas, including spending on public education.

He says the budget package is something Gov. Tom Wolf will sign.

The Senate is expected to vote on the budget as well as changes to the state’s two mammoth public-sector pension systems.

House GOP leaders helped negotiate the deal, but rank-and-file House Republicans are pushing back against it.

___

10:30 a.m.

Lawmakers are trickling back into the Capitol for another day of work in an 11th-hour clash over a deal to end Pennsylvania’s 5-month-old budget stalemate.

The Senate’s schedule Monday could include passage of a $30.8 billion spending plan and legislation to cut costs and overhaul benefits in Pennsylvania’s two mammoth public-sector pension systems.

Wolf, a Democrat, has agreed to sign the Senate legislation after he secured an agreement to raises taxes to deliver a record boost in aid to public schools and narrow a long-term budget deficit.

Senate Republicans say the pension legislation will lessen taxpayer risk by introducing a 401(k)-style plan component. It also scales back benefits for current employees, prompting a union lawsuit threat.

House GOP leaders helped negotiate the deal, but rank-and-file House Republicans are pushing back against it.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide