Recap of the Week in Harrisburg

Capitol Building 2This week was a busy one for working people in Pennsylvania’s Capitol.  As with most weeks regarding the General Assembly, there was good news and bad news for Pennsylvania’s working families.  

The Good News: The Pennsylvania House GOP’s plan to raise the Hotel Tax from 6% to 11% failed to get enough votes on the floor.  The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO opposed the hike due to the detrimental impact it would have on the hotel workers across the commonwealth. It is unfair to arbitrarily raise the taxes of an industry that is already paying its fair share, while the Marcellus Shale industry remains untaxed.   

While Pennsylvania still does not have a finished budget, Governor Wolf has announced that he will begin taking unilateral action to close the budget gap.  The Governor announced Wednesday that he would create bonds from future profits of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, creating $1.2 billion dollars for PA’s bottom line. 

The Bad News: Pennsylvania lawmakers in the State House STILL have not finalized a revenue package to finish the PA Budget!  In addition, while the PA House was unable to agree on a revenue plan, they managed to pass House Bill 59, an unconscionable bill that mandates a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, ignoring the fact that most of the recipients are already working or searching for work.  Many of the nearly 3 million Pennsylvanians that receive Medicaid benefits are disabled, elderly or children.  (Thankfully the Governor has plans to veto the bill.)