Weekend Session Ends Early, No Revenue Package Passed

Harrisburg-Capitol-steps2State House leaders sent members home this weekend after Saturday’s session, canceling the planned Sunday session, without moving a revenue bill to end the ongoing budget impasse.  

House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) proposed a solution to fill the $2 billion budget gap without raising taxes, but the House failed to take action on the proposal during the session.  

Part of the proposal involved borrowing $1.5 billion against Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement money that is given to the state every year.  Turzai said that proposal did was not well received by House Republicans.  

“Our caucus had a robust discussion. Securitization is now something our caucus wants to do,” Turzai told WITF.

Turzai is now putting the pressure on the state Senate to create a solution that will pass both chambers.  

“Now we’re now going to wait to see what the Senate R’s and D’s, what they are interested in doing.”  

Turzai, who is also considering a run for Governor next year, called out Governor Tom Wolf to put go on the record about his tax proposal.  

“We also would ask the governor to publicly state what he supports in terms of new taxes.  If he’s not willing to do it and he wants to continue to be absent from leading, then he can have Representative Dermody or Senator Costa do it,” Turzai told the Patriot News.

Discussions about taxes have reportedly centered around expanding the gross receipts tax to natural gas users and getting rid of the sales tax exemption on basic cable plans.  

The state Senate convenes today at 1 p.m.

5 Responses

  1. It’s pretty rich that Turzai suddenly doesn’t have a problem with borrowing –er, ahem– securitization. Too bad he didn’t feel the same way circa 2009 when we could have headed off the pension problem with a bond that would have yielded an enormous ROI as the economy rebounded (y’know, like it does literally every single time there has ever been a recession in the entire history of the country). That would have been more like a mortgage, in terms of “good debt, bad debt”. This nonsense is more like a payday loan, and like payday loans, the borrower is just going to be that much more screwed when the same bills come due next time, but now we have to pay interest on the loans in addition to the bills using the same amount of income.

    1. “like payday loans”, wish I had thought of that. Political courage needed, I guess we the people expect too little from our elected officials.

  2. They are in a corner. They can’t raise taxes to balance the budget because the plan is to significantly raise taxes on wage earners to shift funding for schools from property taxes. A Shale gas extraction tax is also out; so what to do. Blame Wolf?

  3. And on the Seventh Day they rested. Hey, GOP legislature, you are not God. And your mundane job to balance the budget is not Biblical. Get ‘er done. Tax fracking.

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