PA-BGT: GOP Offer ‘Take It or Leave It’ Deal

pa-state-capitol-b175d9a07740ecf3After more budget negotiations today, there seems to be progress on the horizon in Harrisburg.

Republicans in the state legislature have offered Gov. Tom Wolf a “one-time” budget package that includes concessions on their original plan for pensions and $400 million in education funding, according to Chris Comisac of Capitolwire.

The modified version of Senate Bill 1 still includes a hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan, while GOP lawmakers insist it will still produce $12 billion in state savings over the next three decades, Chris Comisac of Capitolwire writes.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said the deal could make or break the last six weeks of budget negotiating.

“We’ve moved on pensions and gave him everything he wanted on basic education, so this is a one-time offer,” Corman said. “If he takes it, I think it moves us in a direction that we can begin to put this thing to bed pretty quickly. If he rejects it, then we’re back to square one.”

The GOP’s offer does not address where the $400 million for basic education will come from or how it will be appropriated to schools in the state.

“Liquor is going to have to be a key component to that discussion,” House Majority Leader Dave Reed said.

The deal could also push the Governor towards another top Republican priority.

If Wolf accepts their offer, he may be somewhat powerless to stop liquor privatization in PA, as the GOP will be expecting something in return. A second veto on liquor privatization could unite the GOP against the first-year governor – and ensure the $400 million for basic education doesn’t materialize from anywhere else – leaving Wolf vulnerable to attacks from supporters of increased education funding.

“They put a good offer on the table, and it’s something that’s very important to me,” Wolf said leaving the meeting. “We started these conversations with the idea that I would be willing to make some big concessions and compromises on pensions, which is important to them, [but] I need them to move into my camp on education spending.”

11 Responses

  1. They could deny taxpayers credit for payments made and double bill them for the same taxes. That’s something Allegheny County Family Division is good at. See http:fnd.us/c/4zDjf.

  2. The R’s are simply looking to feather their nest’s with more cushy ‘consultant’ jobs after they leave office. Gas companies and liquor companies will be awash with the crooks.

  3. Mere days ago, the Editorial Board of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette urged Governor Wolf to embrace liquor privatization. Others are suggesting that Wolf will do precisely that in the near future. Such a move, of course, would significantly curb the influence of union chieftain Wendell Young IV. And it would be a prelude to other developments…

  4. The Marcellus Shale, being the second largest gas field on Earth, would no doubt bring in an annual $400+ million with a 5% severance tax. We have already lost over $2 billion from 2009-2014, by not having that tax.

    The House Speaker’s estimate of the one-time liquor windfall has dropped from $2.2 billion 3 years ago to $220 million today – which would not cover the cost of the exit strategy, estimated to be anywhere from $400 million to $1.4 billion.

  5. Republicans agree to $400 million for education, as long as they get liquor privatization . In other words they’re saying that eliminating the state stores will bring in 400 million? They’re still dead set against an extraction tax, which would bring in 400 million +.

  6. “The GOP’s offer does not address where the $400 million for basic education will come from or how it will be appropriated to schools in the state.”

    Magic?

    Well, isn’t that amount very close to the expected revenue from an extraction tax?

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