State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Episode 27: What happens next? It's anyone's guess.

Written by Katie Meyer | Oct 13, 2017 4:51 PM
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State Treasurer Joe Torsella stepped back into the political fray this week when he authorized a short-term loan to get the commonwealth's general fund through a few lean days.

That move comes after he spent about two months refusing to authorize a loan on the grounds that the budget wasn't balanced. It technically still isn't, and now the whole situation has many Republicans calling hypocrisy.

Torsella's reasoning for giving the loan is that Governor Tom Wolf has now pledged to take unilateral action (mainly borrowing) to keep the commonwealth's books balanced. He has sketched out a rough picture of how he plans to do that, but there's been no official proposal released, and many of the component parts of Wolf's plan appear less than guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Torsella still has to decide whether he'll authorize another, much larger loan later in the month. If he doesn't, the commonwealth could miss major payments to public schools.

Plus, the legislature is scheduled to return to Harrisburg Monday following their cooling-off week. But no one seems to know what they're going to do--including lawmakers themselves.

The Philly Inquirer's Angela Couloumbis and the AP's Marc Levy explain. 

NOTE: Toward the end of the episode, we talk about a scheduled House Finance Committee meeting, at which lawmakers were expected to consider a severance tax bill. That meeting has since been canceled, and the bill isn't expected to be called up anytime soon. 

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