Proposed office designed to attract and retain new Pennsylvanians comes under Republican scrutiny

Proposed office designed to attract and retain new Pennsylvanians comes under Republican scrutiny

For FY 2016-2017, Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal includes an $877,000 line-item to be dedicated to a new office, called the Office for New Pennsylvanians, whose mission is to attract people to Pennsylvania and keep them in an effort to spur economic development.

At a Monday budget hearing before the House Appropriations Committee, the proposal came under scrutiny from some Republican members who were concerned that the office might be a way to encourage illegal immigrants to come to Pennsylvania.

Monday, February 29, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
“Paycheck protection” legislation begins march through House

“Paycheck protection” legislation begins march through House

So-called “paycheck protection” legislation that passed the Senate in October began its way through the House Tuesday as the House State Government Committee sent Senate Bill 501 to the full House along a party-line vote.

According to committee Majority Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), the legislation is on track to be considered by the House when they return to session in the first week of February.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Procedural gymnastics leads to budget framework revival

Procedural gymnastics leads to budget framework revival

After motions to revert, reconsideration of the vote on said motion, and an unusual roll call vote on second consideration, the once dead budget framework rose like a phoenix Tuesday afternoon in a spectacle that could land a $30.788 billion budget on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk by Wednesday.

The whole thing started with an amendment to the temporary budget rule encapsulated in House Resolution 627.

The original temporary rule would have required two-thirds members to approve a motion to revert to the prior printer number and would have possibly placed such a motion out of order.

The amendment to the rule placed a motion to revert to the immediately prior printer number always in order and only required a majority of members in attendance to approve the motion to revert.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Pension reform bill gets House “tweaks”

Pension reform bill gets House “tweaks”

Senate legislation that would overhaul Pennsylvania’s state-run pension plans that benefit state and public school employees received the “tweaks” many were anticipating in a Tuesday morning vote by the House State Government Committee.

The legislation was changed to allow all current state employees—not just elected officials—to opt-in to the new side-by-side hybrid pension plan, eliminate the artificial funding collars for FY 2016-2017 the Senate included in the legislation, and require the Public Employee Retirement Commission to attach an actuarial note to the legislation as required by law.

All of the changes were agreed-to unanimously, but committee Democrats uniformly opposed the full measure.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Compromise pension reform measure moves to House Floor amid Democrats’ walk-out protest

Compromise pension reform measure moves to House Floor amid Democrats’ walk-out protest

A compromise version of Senate Bill 1’s pension reform plan moved through the House State Government Committee while Democrats refused to vote on the measure or any amendments after walking out of the committee meeting amid controversy over the process by which a vote was called.

The compromise plan was largely along the lines as those previously reported by The PLS Reporter.

In chief, according to an amendment adopted to the legislation sponsored by committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), the pension reform plan would keep in place the Act 9 benefit enhancements while leaving in place other changes to prospective benefits of current employees like an actuarially-neutral Option Four, and anti-spiking provisions.

Most prominently, the legislation would move all new state and public school employees to a defined contribution 401(k)-like pension plan/cash balance retirement benefit plan.

Through these and other changes—notably the elimination of the SERS fresh start—internal Republican estimates put the reform plan’s savings at more than $12 billion using a 32-year period of PSERS and a 38-year period for SERS.

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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