ICYMI: S&P: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget Bill

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Budget News,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, S&P issued a warning that Pennsylvania’s fiscal challenges remain and the Republican legislature must act responsibly to balance Pennsylvania’s budget. In their release, S&P said:“Despite six months of deliberations, Pennsylvania’s budget deliberations continue, leaving it uncertain whether legislators will act to close the state’s budget gap… The $30.3 billion budget passed by both the house and senate is, in our view, structurally unbalanced and does not include pension reforms negotiated in the previously agreed-upon budget framework. As proposed, the budget had a $500 million budget gap for fiscal 2016 and left a $2 billion budget gap for fiscal 2017… As the state’s longest running budget impasse persists, the question of lawmakers’ political willingness to address fiscal challenges remains.”You can read S&P’s full release below:Bulletin: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget BillCHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) Dec. 29, 2015 — Despite six months of deliberations, Pennsylvania’s budget deliberations continue, leaving it uncertain whether legislators will act to close the state’s budget gap or address its long-term pension liabilities. Our AA-/Stable general obligation (GO) rating on the Pennsylvania is still unchanged despite the political gridlock because of the state’s demonstrated willingness to honor its debt obligations. We are also waiting to see how further deliberations play out as legislators have still to determine a revenue package for fiscal 2016.On Dec. 29, 2015, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he would line-item veto the legislature’s budget while providing emergency funding to public schools and social service providers. The $30.3 billion budget passed by both the house and senate is, in our view, structurally unbalanced and does not include pension reforms negotiated in the previously agreed-upon budget framework. As proposed, the budget had a $500 million budget gap for fiscal 2016 and left a $2 billion budget gap for fiscal 2017. While we have previously stated that we could consider a negative rating action or outlook if the state fails to address its budgetary imbalance or reverses course on addressing its pension liabilities, we are waiting for further developments on a corresponding revenue package and to better understand whether a pension reform will be part of a final budget.The release of emergency aid to schools will help relieve Pennsylvania schools’ cash flow pressures, but we have not reinstated our rating on the Pennsylvania state credit enhancement program because we still consider state aid payments to be unreliable given the state’s chronic failure to pass an on-time budget (see “Standard & Poor’s Analysis Of Credit Enhancement Programs Is More Than A Mechanical Exercise,” published Dec. 14, 2015). We previously viewed the hold-up of state funding as motivation for lawmakers to pass a budget. The emergency school funding measures gives more time for the budget deliberations to continue.As the state’s longest running budget impasse persists, the question of lawmakers’ political willingness to address fiscal challenges remains. Past protracted debates have not always resulted in balanced budgets. A lack of reforms in the current budget year could add to the growing revenue and expenditure misalignment and increased pension funding pressures in fiscal 2017. For the next fiscal year, the governor has discussed a personal income tax increase, coupled with a new severance tax, which were rejected by legislators this fall. It is possible that future revenue enhancements and pension reforms could face politically contentious negotiations yet again given that both sides were far apart on the issues not addressed in the current budget. While we have not changed our rating based on the state’s political gridlock, continued structural imbalance or lack of progress in funding its pensions could result in a rating action. We have determined, based solely on the developments described herein, that no rating actions are currently warranted. Only a rating committee may determine a rating action and, as these developments were not viewed as material to the ratings, neither they nor this report were reviewed by a rating committee.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf December 30, 2015center_img ICYMI: S&P: Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Challenges Remain Following Line-Item Veto Of Budget Billlast_img read more

6 towns told to organize anti-insurgency task forces

first_imgILOILO – The municipalities of Alimodian,Calinog, Janiauy, Lambunao, Maasin, and Tubungan should organize task forcesaddressing their respective insurgency problems, according to the Department ofInterior and Local Government (DILG). The Philippine Army previously confirmed tothe DILG that 13 barangays in the six towns have insurgency problems –Alimodian, one; Maasin, one; Tubungan, one; Janiuay, two; and Lambunao, two. The Municipal Task Force to End LocalCommunist Armed Conflict will serve as a convergence platform for the deliveryof basic services down to the barangays “which will lead to good governance,”said Sumagaysay./PN Executive Order 70, according to Sumagaysay,espouses a whole-of-nation approach in addressing communist armed conflict.center_img “We gave them a deadline,Nov. 30,” said DILG Iloilo provincial director Teodora Sumagaysay. It then suggested the formation of a“Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict” in each of thetowns to coordinate efforts with government forces in line with Executive Order70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict(NTF-ELCAC).last_img read more

Wenger hails resilient Gunners

first_img “We are now back to four points behind, we have a game in hand and we’ve played two away games on the trot now. “We have five games at home and we will see. It makes, of course, the next game a very big one. “We needed the three points after a disappointing result at Stoke and I think that was still on our mind. “Overall, we know to stay in the race it was vital to win and our away fans have been brilliant since the start of the season.” Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood struggled to contain himself at times at White Hart Lane and at one point threw his gilet at the dugout in anger. Despite that frustration and the fact Spurs have now lost three in a row, he could have few complaints with his side’s effort. “After going behind so early in the game, you fear the worst but they did me proud today,” Sherwood said. “They stuck together and took the game to Arsenal. We’re talking about a team pushing for the title here and we didn’t deserve to lose that game. I think we deserved to win it. “To be honest, I am a winner. I want to win and I would rather play bad and win the game. “Anyone that saw that game today will know we didn’t deserve to lose that. “They had one shot in the second half, when Mertesacker forced Hugo Lloris into a good save. “They came here to counter-attack and that is a credit to us. They did that pretty well in the first half but the boys stuck to their guns, we showed some quality. “We should have scored, it’s as simple as that. When we score, we go on to win the game because the momentum would have taken us there. “The crowd were fantastic, stuck with us all the way today and you would expect that when they are seeing the boys give that sort of effort.” The Gunners’ first win at White Hart Lane since September 2007 was far from easy and, in fact, they were fortunate to leave victorious. Tomas Rosicky’s thunderbolt after just 72 seconds proved enough in a tense north London derby, which only ended 1-0 thanks to Spurs’ wayward finishing and some wonderful defending. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was proud of the “special resilience” his players displayed in keeping Tottenham at bay and themselves in contention for the Barclays Premier League crown. Press Association Wenger was proud of the resilience shown by his side in a victory that sees Arsenal move into third in the standings and crucially closes the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points. “It is a huge result,” the Arsenal boss said. “We were under pressure to win before the game because of course it was a very important game. “Our early goal maybe influenced too much how we played because we missed a second goal and after that we wanted to protect the lead and sometimes we were under pressure. “Tottenham played well, we must say. For me, they were absolutely up for it and we needed some special resilience to get away with it. “As long as we didn’t score the second goal, of course it was a very tight game, but in the end, for us, it is a three massive points.” Wenger was quick to highlight the “exceptional” centre-back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker for helping Arsenal over the line at White Hart Lane. The result was the ideal response to the defeat at Stoke in their last Premier League outing and may well prove a catalyst to success in next weekend’s trip to leaders Chelsea. “It gets us a bit closer to Chelsea and makes the game next week even more interesting,” Wenger said. last_img read more