Jul. 14, 2017

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
Budget Update: Still Standing Up for Taxpayers

The $32 billion budget passed by the General Assembly in late June became law earlier this week, without the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf for the third consecutive year.

With the governor largely absent from negotiations, House and Senate Republicans have been working in good faith with his staff to reach an agreement on revenues to support the spending plan. Presented with a variety of options, including proposed reforms to our state’s liquor sales system and gaming expansion, the administration has rejected each proposal, instead calling for new and increased taxes on hard-working Pennsylvania families or small employers.

Talks will continue until an agreement is reached.
                
         
Bill Boosts Battle Against Waste, Fraud, Abuse

Legislation that would ensure the future of the State Office of Inspector General has been passed by the General Assembly and is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

Recognizing the importance of its work to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the state’s welfare system and government as a whole, Senate Bill 527 would make the office a permanent part of state government. Currently, it exists only by executive order of the governor.

Under the bill, the Office of Inspector General would be granted subpoena power for its internal investigations and would be authorized to investigate and file criminal charges for certain welfare fraud crimes.

The governor is expected to sign the legislation this week.
                  
         
Improving Transparency in Lobbying

To improve transparency within the lobbying process, House Bill 1175 passed the House this week to better address lobbying violations and ensure the public has more information with respect to how lobbyists attempt to influence public policy.

The bill would increase the maximum penalty imposed by the Ethics Commission for an unlawful act from the current fine of $2,000 to $4,000. Additionally, the bill would improve the current electronic filing system for lobbyists and require all filings to be posted on the Department of State’s publicly accessible website within seven days of receipt.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its review.
                  
         
Economic Update

Pennsylvania collected $3.3 billion in General Fund revenue in June, which was $11.2 million, or 0.3 percent, more than anticipated. June marked the end of Fiscal Year 2016-17, during which General Fund collections totaled $31.7 billion, which is $1.1 billion, or 3.4 percent, below estimate. Learn more here.
                  
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