State Government Update – January 19th, 2015

Volume 8 Edition 12

PJC Mission Statement: The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC), working individually and collectively with others, represents Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities before state government and with other Pennsylvanians. Jewish values guide the PJC’s focus on issues of importance to these communities, including public social policies and funding and regulation of the delivery of human service


Letters for Support for an Israeli Consulate office in Philadelphia . . . With the unfortunate news of the closing of the Israeli Consulate’s office for the Mid-Atlantic Region, letters of support for the Philadelphia office to remain open are coming in from Pennsylvania’s elected leaders. Attached please see letters from Governor Tom Wolf, Senate President Pro-Tempore Joseph Scarnati, and House of Representative Speaker Mike Turzai. We are also learning that letters are also being written by Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, Representative Dan Frankel, and Senator Rob Teplitz.

With Governor Wolf’s Line Item Veto – What is Next? . . . This week, the Pennsylvania Senate will be concurring on the House of Representative’s fiscal code which enables the $22.3 billion to be allocated for spending.

Late last year, Governor Wolf approved $23.3 billion of the $30.3 billion spending plan using his line item veto power to remove the roughly $7 billion spread throughout the budget with a bulk of the cuts coming from the basic education subsidy, Pennsylvania state colleges and universities, state prisons, and medical assistance programs.

Using the line item veto, Governor Wolf has allowed some funding to be released to the schools (6 months of funding), $1 million additional funding to assist food pantries throughout the Commonwealth (a funding increase for the first time in 10 years), and the release of EITC letters to businesses.

With the signing of the fiscal code, the Pennsylvania House and Senate will hopefully to the negotiating table to push for the reinstatement of the money removed with the line item veto. However, at this time, it is uncertain as to the direction the House and Senate Leaders plan to take:

  • Will they come back to the negotiating table and push for a $30.8 billion budget with tax increases/or expansion and pension reform?
  • Will the House and Senate leaders try to override Governor Wolf’s line item veto (2/3 of the House and Senate)
    • 33 out of 49 votes in the Senate (1 vacancy at this time)
    • 134 out of 200 votes in the House of Representatives (3 vacancies at this time)
  • Negotiate into May and push for an 18-month budget (back date to January 2016 through the state’s fiscal year 16-17).

We are waiting to see the steps they will be taking to try and end this budget impasse.