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PA-BGT: Turzai Threatens Veto Override

Mike-TurzaiPennsylvania has been without a budget for close to four weeks now, but its leaders are no closer to coming to an agreement.

Speaking to the PA Press Club on Monday, House Speaker Mike Turzai said he is considering bringing a vote to the floor to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of the GOP-proposed budget.

“I can assure you my Democratic colleagues are not interested in Gov. Wolf’s tax package,” Turzai said. “[An override is] a direction we’d consider and it has to be an option.”

With the sticking points between Wolf and the GOP remaining ideological, it is hard to see the budget being resolved anytime soon.

“[Turzai] raised the idea in a few conversations but the votes aren’t there, nor will they be,” House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton said. “An attempt to override the veto would be fruitless and counterproductive. Other Republican leaders know that, and they have reached out to the governor and Democratic leaders for more substantive budget talks.”

The budget passed by the GOP-led legislature calls for the state to sell its liquor stores and privatize liquor and wine sales, which Wolf has also vetoed. On the other side, the Governor wants to raise state revenues by increasing the sales, income and cigarette taxes, while lowering property tax rates, leaving negotiations at a major standstill.

To override Wolf’s veto, both houses of the state legislature would have to pass the legislation again with a two-thirds vote. 33 senators and 132 representatives would have to go against the Governor to impose their budget.

31 Responses

  1. “This “loss” could all be bullsh*t on paper based on any number of factors, most likely some pricing and surplus supplies. If they were so unprofitable they would just stop the fracking completely because they weren’t making any money from it.”

    1) Have you looked at natural gas prices lately? What are you talking about – surplus supplies? And I don’t know of any energy companies in the shale that are fracking new wells this year in the current price environment. The economics don’t make sense.

    “The energy company profits are always over what they should be because they get away without paying to clean up their messes, and passing it on to the taxpayers (or having it not get cleaned up).”

    1) Can you cite even one example of what you’re talking about?

    “PA needs to be investing in non fossil-fuel energy sources. If we have to tax these companies out of existence (and pay for schools), I don’t have a problem with that.”

    1) So the fact that PA is the single largest royalty interest owner in the state and gets hundreds of millions of dollars a year in royalties from these companies aside from any severance tax – if you taxed them out of existence, how would you make up the revenues to the state?

    Are you a democrat or a communist?

  2. aaron-
    My point is that the oil/gas/coal energy/power companies have remained the most profitable for decades, yet they’ve constantly whined about how they need every subsidy and tax break, and how every regulation would put them and the industry out of business.

    This “loss” could all be bullsh*t on paper based on any number of factors, most likely some pricing and surplus supplies. If they were so unprofitable they would just stop the fracking completely because they weren’t making any money from it.

    The energy company profits are always over what they should be because they get away without paying to clean up their messes, and passing it on to the taxpayers (or having it not get cleaned up).

    PA needs to be investing in non fossil-fuel energy sources. If we have to tax these companies out of existence (and pay for schools), I don’t have a problem with that.

  3. You’re right Diano – all of the big energy companies in the Marcellus – consol, range, etc.. public companies who are reporting huge quarterly losses right now – they all got together and said “hey let’s mischaracterize expenses to decrease earnings to make people feel bad for us.” And then the largest cpa audit firms in the world like E&Y and KPMG all got together and blessed their quarterly filings. They are public companies that report to lenders, shareholders and the SEC – they can’t just fraudulently mischaracterize expenses. They get audited every quarter and annually – it’s called on 10-k.

    Do you really believe the things you post or are you just messing with everyone? You sound like a fool.

  4. Let’s not forget, this is an industry that spends A LOT of money to buy up politicians, put gag orders on doctors, and pays “scientists” to generate bogus “research” hiding the dangers and contamination to cover up while people are drinking polluted water, getting lesions, cancer, etc.

    So, cooking the books is hardly surprising.

  5. aaron-

    I was implying creative (fraudulent) accounting on their part to mischaracterize expenses.

    As for paying for it, they have not been paying to clean up the the contamination they are causing. They should be taxed an additional 5% into a fund to pay for that, above and beyond the severance tax.

  6. …and by the way, capital expenditures don’t hit the P&L – they are recorded on the balance sheet as an asset not as an expense item – capital expenditures don’t affect profit and loss and don’t affect earnings – wow you are a moron.

  7. Diano – seriously, please reread your comments before posting. You sound like an idiot. Prices are horrible right now in the natural gas market. And give me a break – polluting the air and water without paying for it – please. Your comments are calling attention to your ignorance.

  8. Reasonable Rep-

    Gee, if they are losing money, why don’t they close up shop and get out of the energy business?

    oh… wait.. the reports are probably bullsh*t or maybe they have investments in capital expenditures like buying new equipment that make the quarter look bad.

    But, they are still polluting the environment and contaminating the water and not paying for it.

  9. Range Resources and Consol Energy just reported *quarterly* losses of $119 million and $603 million, respectively. Poor timing for Wolf’s PR campaign.

  10. Turzai would never try the veto override if the Democrats had a ground game in place to take the Senate and the House Majority back. The indifference of the Democratic Party to State House races outside of the cities in Pennsylvania has caused this problem for the Governor. Democrats in every county must have the resources to turn people like Turzai out of office in general elections. The last time I looked a Rural House Seat vote counts the same as a city Representative. The Republicans figured this out about ten years ago. They could buy Rural Seats because of the House committee ‘s indifference. This must change in order for Governor Wolf to have a chance to fix the financial mess the State is in. Otherwise the Smoke and Mirror Budgets the Republicans support and lie to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania will continue.

  11. So he’s going to tax “drillers” who were making $4.00 per mcf this time last year on natural gas sales and who are now making right around $1.50 per mcf due to over supply in the shale in order to make up a budget shortfall? Seems like a winning pro-growth strategy to me…. We spend more than any other country in the world per student on K-12 education (by many, many multiples) and our kids are like 27th in math and science. How about we fix the underlying problems with the educational system instead of just throwing more money at it and taxing people out of their homes in the process.

  12. Larry – have you developed calluses on your knuckles from dragging them around all day? I’m amazed you can type. If you want to play a game where Philadelphia keeps all the revenue it generates and your municipality keeps all the revenue it generates, I’ll bet bucks to buttons that Philly’s gonna win.

    Aaron – you seem lost. The governor’s proposal would raise taxes on gas drillers along with modest increases in PIT and Sales and Use Tax to pay for increased education appropriations and massive property tax reduction across the state. In fact, those increases are pulled from Republican legislation introduced to eliminate property taxes every year (except, unlike the R fantasy legislation, this stuff actually holds up to review by a calculator). You must be thinking of the Governor Corbett/Republican budgets of the past four years that shifted the tax burden from the state to local property owners.

  13. Diano, that’s a dramatic overstatement of the state of education in PA. Wolf wants to tax drillers so that Shaniqua can get a do-nothing job for her cousin in the Philly School District.

  14. aaron-

    Wolf wants to tax the drillers so the schools can buy book and keep the heat/lights on (and, oh yeah, hire teachers).

  15. Diano, you are forgetting the fact that many counties are in the property tax reassessment process this year for the first time in 40 or 50 years. I believe that both turzai and reeds districts are in effected counties. Wolf is getting hammered for not supporting gop property tax reform. Even Dems in western pa are backing property tax reform and are opposing wolf. And wolf wants to raise property taxes even higher so that schools can re turf their football fields.

  16. Passing the Republican budget or rejecting Wolf’s proposed budget does not solve problems, hard core problems that quickly need to be resolved instead the can down the road. If this was a business, the first action to be taken is restoring credit, attracting new customers and alleviating the burdens you have placed on your employees. Residents who own properties need a break; new companies who may consider coming here need a break; teachers who are responsible for educating our future workforce need support. Do Republicans ever talk in these terms? Ever?

  17. Village Elder:

    I’ll give you three guesses who pays the road crews for state roads. Although I assume you’re being sarcastic.

  18. Hmm, isn’t Tuzai the same one who said “Voter ID Law Means Romney Can Win PA”. Well Romeny lost Pennsylvania. I guess Tuzai doesn’t know who he is dealing with. Governor Wolf has more sense and intelligence then the previous Governor. Governor Wolf knows how to play his cards and he will win!

  19. The major state road in my township is an axel breaker. A local bridge is so rickety they have to close both lanes to fix it. Fiscal discipline, austerity, trickledown, and get government off my back will get the road crews back on the job.

  20. Robert:

    I was on the bus at the time. First to admit I was wrong about the math. But here’s what I got.

    132 Reps Needed – 120 Republicans = 12 Democrats Needed
    33 Sens Needed – 30 Republicans = 3 Democrats Needed

    I forgot that the Republicans took back so many Senate seats in the last election. But my point remains. Part of having a large majority means there are few conservative Democrats left.

    So the State House vote on the Republican budget was 112-77.

    That means they need 20 *new* votes from people who didn’t support the bill. They don’t have all the Republicans in a row. Maybe those are easier votes to get, but what do people like Gene DiGirolamo owe to the Harrisburg leadership? There were I think 4 Democrats that didn’t vote, so if you got all 8 Republicans (a stretch) and all 4 nonvoting Democrats, that gets you to 12. But a couple of those nonvoting Democrats are Jordan Harris, from a safe seat in Philadelphia, and Paul Costa, Sen. Jay Costa’s brother. So while the numbers probably look like they work, they’re harder than at first glace.

    That assumes a veto override can be done before August 11th, when special elections will fill three seats in Philadelphia, raising the threshold for votes to 134 and putting it farther out of reach.

    And in the Senate, the vote was 30-19, on exact party line votes.

    Who are you going to flip from the Democratic caucus? I think the Republicans pick up another vote in the Special Election in November, but that’s 3.5 months from now. It would be obvious what the Republicans were doing, and they wouldn’t win the seat if they tried tying it to the budget, IMO. But even if they did, you still need 2 Democrats. And who are they?

  21. When Speaker Turzai argued against a gas tax by compared it to taxing farmers for milk extraction or a hay tax … I couldn’t help but think about when Speaker Perzel justified the midnight pay raise by arguing that members of the House make less than barbers! The logic is laughable … Is this the best we have Pennsylvania!!! Wolf, literally beat Corbett by promising the citizens of Pennsylvania he word raise their taxes and tax the drillers … It’s time for Turzai to give the people what the voted for. Nonetheless word is Reed is cutting a deal wigh wolf to move the state forward after all Reed used to be a democrat.

  22. aaron-

    The state house is filled with political fools and cowards who do not want a budget that they can’t blame on the governor. Overriding him puts ALL the blame/responsibility on them and lets Wolf off the hook for any problems where he can point the finger at them.

    Call to Gov’s office from taxpayer:

    Taxpayer: How come my kid’s school closed, or dropped extra curricular, or raised my local school taxes ?

    Gov Wolf: Please call St Rep xxxx who voted to override my veto of this budget. My budget would have fully funded your school. BTW, you can vote that Rep out of office in 2016 if you aren’t happy.

  23. An override is very possible particularly if this goes into late august. The gop leadership in the house put out a budget without tax increases as well as pension reform. Wolf’s budget didn’t get a single vote. Not one from either party. Wolf’s problem is not that he is stupid or unreasonable, he just got played by the other side. Like it or not, he is no ed rendell. Dems from moderate and conservative districts are much more likely to go with the gop on this one rather than go down with the ship manned by a first year guv demanding tax increases.

  24. They voted for an unworkable/undesirable budget they wouldn’t even have sent to Corbett, because they knew Wolf would never sign it.

    They aren’t going to override something they don’t really want.

  25. Hang tough, Governor Wolf. Get as much of what we, the whole state, sent you there to get from the gerrymandered General Assembly. They can’t get one single Dem to vote for their budget…heck, they can’t even get all the GOP to, and they think they can round up 16 (or 18, if Turzai can’t even bring his 2 GOP back) Dems to override our Governor?

    Who’s being unrealistic there, Mike Turzai? (Hint: it’s you).

    Start talking to Dems, or we’ll sit with no budget forever. What are they gonna do? Drop a roadblock across the I81 and I83 offramps with signs saying “closed till further notice”?

    Of course not.

  26. 13thDistrictDemocrat:

    May want to look at those numbers again before commenting. A veto override is within reach.

  27. The oil/gas corporations already get a lot of corporate welfare. Tell Turzai to stop resisting the governor’s budget- we elected Wolf to get some of our money back from the oil/gas frackers and I’m happy to see Wolf sticking to his guns!

  28. So they’d have to get 7 Democratic Senators and like 15-20 representatives to go against the guy who is going to be their party’s leader for at least 3 more years, while voting for a budget they don’t like to begin with?

    More realistic title: Turzai Threatens Thing That Will Never Ever Happen because He Wants to Win the Messaging War.

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