pa government

AP Photo/Allen Breed, File

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- In the wake of the shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured over 500, some lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pushing legislation that would ban certain gun modifications.

When gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers, he used a device called a bump stock to functionally turn his semi-automatic weapon into a deadlier automatic one.

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Governor Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that the Treasury is loaning money to cover the commonwealth's short-term expenses--including upcoming payments to public schools.

That was news to Treasurer Joe Torsella, who said the loan still isn't authorized and won't be until Wolf provides more details on how he plans to balance the state budget.

The loan in question has been a point of political tension.

Lindsey Lazarski / Keystone Crossroads

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- It has been several days since negotiations to balance Pennsylvania's months-late budget melted down, with Governor Wolf intervening with a partial funding plan of his own.

But a lot is still unknown about the commonwealth's fiscal future.

Short-term cash issues remain unresolved. And House and Senate Republicans have indicated it's an open question whether they'll try to resist Wolf's latest funding plan. 

Marc Levy / AP Photo

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - The latest push to finish Pennsylvania's late, unbalanced budget has melted down. After several false starts, talks between House Democrats and Republicans dissolved into fights Wednesday over who's at fault for the chamber's inability to find consensus on a tax package. 

Meanwhile Governor Tom Wolf declared himself "done" playing games, and unexpectedly announced he'll balance a portion of the budget himself, by borrowing against future revenue from the state-controlled liquor industry.

PA Looks To Amend Laws In Wake Of Equifax Breach

Oct 4, 2017
Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Several state lawmakers are introducing legislation to help people deal with situations in which their personal information is compromised. 

The move comes after a massive security breach at credit reporting agency Equifax affected millions of Pennsylvanians. 

The breach is the largest in the country's history.

In the Pennsylvania alone, more than five million people had information compromised--about three quarters of the commonwealth's adult population.

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - After extensive closed negotiations, a House committee has moved a plan to close part of the $2.2 billion gap in Pennsylvania's overdue budget. 

It's expected to be considered by the full chamber on Wednesday.

Its key component is a five percent tax on hotel rates that would largely impact major cities, and is already being opposed by the hotel industry.

The statewide rate is currently six percent.

Nearly doubling it would only raise around $100 million this year, and roughly $160 million next year.

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- A state senator running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination next year has been urging fellow Republicans not to support a natural gas severance tax--in part because he thinks it would help Democratic Governor Tom Wolf politically. 

Senator Scott Wagner's remarks on the subject were recorded secretly by a campaign tracker.

They don't constitute an ethics violation--though the state Democratic Party is saying the comments smack of conspiracy.

The recording is from a September 14th conference hosted by the conservative York 912 Patriots.

Katie Meyer / AP

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- After a week of closed talks between legislative leaders and Governor Tom Wolf, the House and Senate are back in session together for the first time in months. 

Leaders say they have a loose budget structure to work from now, though no one has officially agreed to anything.

The House hasn't yet held official discussions with members about the framework, but the Senate did Monday afternoon.

Associated Press

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- GOP leaders say they're optimistic they'll have some kind of budget framework to present to members this week. The House and Senate are both scheduled to convene Monday.

The potential deal comes after a week of closed negotiations between chamber leaders, as well as at least one rare in-person meeting with Governor Tom Wolf. 

It's unclear when or if major votes will happen.

But in a memo sent to GOP members, House Leader Dave Reed said it "might be a good idea to pack for a long week."

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has posted this year's earnings, and they're higher than ever. 

Despite overhead cost increases, the PLCB says the revenues are a sign the industry is healthy.

But House Republicans--who have long wanted to privatize liquor sales--say it just amounts to price gouging.

As lawmakers search under couch cushions for money to balance a stalled state budget, the PLCB's been chipping in more and more cash. A record-setting $216 million last fiscal year was more than double the previous year's contribution.

PA Resist Claims Day Of Action Was Largest To Date

Sep 29, 2017
Ben Allen / WITF

CARLISLE (WSKG) -- Dozens of groups around Pennsylvania--united by their opposition to President Donald Trump -- are rallying under the loose coalition of PA Resist. 

Organizers say they just held the largest so-called Day of Action yet in support of a broad pro-immigration platform.

Protesters turned out in nearly 20 cities across the commonwealth to call on their congressional representatives to support what's being dubbed a "clean DREAM Act."

AviatorDave / flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- State House Democrats and a handful of Republicans are trying to figure out the best way to bring a natural gas severance tax up for a vote. 

The group briefly tried to bring a bill to the floor Tuesday, but had to drop the effort because they were short on support.

The version of the severance tax under consideration has been sitting in the GOP-controlled House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee since January.

The panel's leaders haven't seemed inclined to act on it.

Can Political Strife Hurt Business Prospects?

Sep 27, 2017
David Wilson / Flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- As Pennsylvania contends with a months-late budget and recently-downgraded bond rating, it's also working hard to entice Amazon to set up a secondary headquarters in one of its cities.

The situation raises a question: could the political turmoil deter businesses?

Some pro-business leaders say in certain cases, it's a possibility.

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- State Treasurer Joe Torsella has found himself at the center of contentious battles over funding Pennsylvania's unbalanced budget and paying the commonwealth's bills.

Last month, Torsella decided he wouldn't loan money to cover short-term expenses until the budget is done. The state has since had to delay some payments

He maintains his decision was responsible.

Bipartisan Severance Tax Bill Still Stalled

Sep 26, 2017
KIM PAYNTER / WHYY

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The fight over how to fund Pennsylvania's overdue budget is boiling down to just a few points of contention -- including whether to impose a new tax on natural gas drillers.

A bipartisan coalition of House members is backing the severance tax--a version of which has been approved by the Senate.

But the bill is having a hard time making it to the House floor for a full vote.

Kate Harper, a moderate Republican from Montgomery County, is sponsoring the proposal that's been at the center of extensive political maneuvering.

Katie Meyer / AP

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- As state lawmakers fight over the details of a long-overdue budget funding plan, the commonwealth is having trouble covering short-term costs. 

After temporarily delaying several payments, the Wolf administration says it can meet expenses for the rest of this month.

But after that, things may get tricky.

Through October 2, the state owes more than $700 million for various major obligations--including school costs, state employee salaries, and county assistance--plus at least tens of millions more for smaller ones.

Pennsylvania Receives Long-Awaited Credit Downgrade

Sep 21, 2017
Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - After months of warnings, S&P Global Ratings has downgraded Pennsylvania's credit, citing concerns over its chronically unbalanced budget. 

PA Senate Hits Restart On Budget Negotiations

Sep 21, 2017
MATT ROURKE / AP PHOTO

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - The GOP-controlled state Senate has formally rejected a conservative budget plan passed by the House--essentially resetting negotiations nearly three months past the deadline. 

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - The state Auditor General's office has released a report showing a provider of abortion-alternative services has misused taxpayer dollars. That includes using some of its grant money for out-of-state promotions. 

PA Senate Won't Concur On Conservative House Plan

Sep 20, 2017
AviatorDave / flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - Senators are trying to figure out how to move forward on the stalled state budget. They're planning to formally vote against a conservative House funding plan Wednesday in hopes of kick-starting an expedited process known as a conference committee. 

Kevin McCorry, Keystone Crossroads

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - The state Senate is back in session, and is gearing up to respond to a budget package the House passed last week. Senate leaders aren't revealing much about their plans--though they indicate they have fundamental disagreements with House leaders.  

David Wilson / Flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The commonwealth is putting off paying over a billion dollars to insurers who administer Medicaid benefits, because its main bank account is almost out of money. It will be at least a week before the state can afford to pay, and the delay will probably mean the insurers will charge interest.  

PA House Narrowly Passes Budget Funding Plan

Sep 14, 2017
Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The state House of Representatives has narrowly voted to move a budget plan built largely on one-time fund transfers. Although it represents the first action on the overdue budget in well over a month, it's unclear how much it'll move the needle toward a resolution. 

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- The state House is still working on a plan to fill a $2.2 billion dollar gap in a budget that is almost three months late. But negotiations took an unexpected turn Tuesday when the chamber adjourned suddenly without holding an expected vote on a plan from a conservative faction of members. 

PA Rally Tries To Prompt Action On Gerrymandering

Sep 13, 2017
Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Advocates for overhauling the redistricting process packed the Capitol rotunda Tuesday hoping to persuade lawmakers to take their quest seriously. Pennsylvania's congressional districts are considered among the most unfair in the country. 

(KEYSTONE CROSSROADS) - The Pennsylvania Economy League released a report on Tuesday showing predictions in its last study have borne out. That's not a good thing. 

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- After weeks of deserted Capitol hallways and quiet meetings between House members, the chamber is officially back in session--well over a month after the Senate passed a bipartisan revenue plan to balance the budget. 

Maguis & David / flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Heated speeches could be heard from the House GOP's closed caucus room Monday night, as a conservative faction attempted--for several hours--to rally support for a budget funding plan that wouldn't raise taxes. 

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Agencies are raising alarms over a GOP-backed House plan to redirect billions of dollars to fill gaps in the state's badly unbalanced budget.  The proposal comes from a conservative faction of the House.

Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

(Harrisburg) - Pennsylvania is in its third month with no balanced budget. Governor Tom Wolf, Senate Democrats and Republicans, and House Democrats are pushing House Republicans to agree to a compromise plan that would raise some taxes and borrow money to fill a $2.2 billion shortfall. 

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