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PA-BGT: Will Harrisburg Come Together for Thanksgiving?

wolf-budget addressFor the first time in over four months, things in Harrisburg are looking up.

After a slew of closed-door meetings, GOP legislative leaders said there is reason to be optimistic after finding a potential revenue source to make up shortfalls in the budget.

Budget negotiators are looking at sending $600 million in slot-machine gambling money to the state treasury, Marc Levy of the Associated Press reports. Currently, school districts receive gambling revenues, before passing them on to homeowners as property tax breaks.

Jeff Sheridan, spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf, said there are serious negotiations taking place behind closed doors, and there is a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

On Friday, House Majority Leader Dave Reed told his fellow GOP lawmakers the progress could lead to a budget by Thanksgiving.

Wolf and GOP leaders are still working to find a comprehensive budget agreement, with education funding, a natural gas severance tax, pension reforms and liquor privatization acting as the main obstacles. PA’s budget is now 132 days late.

Wolf has previously offered concessions on pensions and the state’s liquor business, while GOP leaders seem to be thawing to the Governor’s idea of a severance tax.

“We’re not there yet, but for the first time in a while, we seem to have a direction that we’re heading in together,” Sen. Majority Leader Jake Corman said.

The first-year Democratic Governor will not sign a budget that does not include historic increases to education funding, Sheridan said.

6 Responses

  1. They better get it together by Thanksgiving or it’s a Swanson turkey tv dinner for these bums!

  2. There will be a Budget Deal in place by Thanksgiving for two reasons. 1. Christmas Vacation. Lawmakers want their Christmas Extended Holiday. 2. In January all State Lawmakers attention turns to petiton signing season for re-election coming in February. Lawmakers don’t want to face an angry electorate with something important as keeping their jobs. The answer is Term Limits to stop this gridlock at all levels in Harrisburg.

  3. Unknown-

    If I catch your meaning, IV is about to fall, and not be an obstacle.

    As for closing the loophole, I think that was in response to the problems with Philly union behavior that crossed the line.

    But, if you have some more insights, please elaborate and enlighten us. Sounds like some people are going to be getting an education.

  4. Diano: Now why do you suppose that Wolf (a) is poised to abandon Wendell Young IV and the UFCW Local 1776 (by yielding on liquor privatization) and (b) recently signed the bill closing the loophole that allowed labor unions to harass opponents during disputes? Why indeed…

  5. Here’s an idea:

    If they don’t have a budget by Thanksgiving, the Gov and the Legislature have to have Thanksgiving dinner together, after spending the entire day feeding the homeless.

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