News & Brews June 6, 2023

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House Dems pass huge spending plan

Yesterday, House Democrats passed a massive $46.4 billion spending plan, which, per PennLive, is “a 13% increase over this year’s $40.5 billion budget.” House Republicans blasted the plan, saying it will “put Pennsylvania on a path to bankruptcy.” House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler said that “Gov. Shapiro’s budget was bad enough.” But Democrats went beyond Shapiro’s budget. They “increased spending and raised taxes, bloated state government, and rammed through a massive and unsustainable spending plan.” What’s more, they gave “only six hours for lawmakers and the public to read it.” The party-line vote was 102-101. The budget now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate.

House passes property tax / rent rebate expansion

The Pa. House voted 194-9 yesterday to expand the state’s property tax and rent rebate program for seniors. The proposal “rais[es] the income cap from the current $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters to $45,000 for both.” It also “raises the maximum rebate amount from $650 per year … to $1,000 and adjusts the phase-in of that rebate for different income levels,” per PennLive. The measure now heads to the Senate.

New House members sworn in

The Pa. House is back to a full roster of 203 members after two new lawmakers were sworn in yesterday. Democrat Rep. Heather Boyd (Delaware County) and Republican Rep. Michael Stender (Northumberland and Montour counties) both won special elections last month. With their swearing in, Democrats now hold 102 seats to Republicans’ 101.

Gov’t spent >$12M on school funding case

Spotlight PA reports that the multi-year school funding case decided earlier this year in the Commonwealth Court saw the Legislature and governor’s office spend over $12 million in legal fees. The governor’s office spent more than $4 million, while the state Senate spent about $4.7 million and the House spent another $4 million.

Dem rep’s anti-worker slur shows bias

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Fellow David Osborne writes that a proposed constitutional amendment to “empower public sector union executives … would hurt just about everyone else, including the rank-and-file teachers, first responders, and government workers legislators presumably want to help.” As evidence, Osborne relates anti-worker comments made by Democrat state Rep. David Delloso (Delaware County) in support of the proposal. Delloso said, “Now, nothing in this constitutional amendment proposes to change the Janus decision. If you want to be a freeloading scab, you can still be a freeloading scab.” Osborne writes that this “wasn’t a slip of the tongue. It was a deliberate attack against a worker’s right to decide to join or stay in a union.”

Former longtime state rep joins lobbying firm

Former York County GOP Rep. Stan Saylor has joined the lobbying firm One+ Strategies. Other former lawmakers working for the firm include former state Sen. Jake Corman and former state Reps. John Payne and Paul Costa.

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