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

Walters nears landmark

first_img Walters has been nursing a groin injury which saw him withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan. If the 30-year-old is included in the Potters first XI for the Albion match, he will be just three short of 100 consecutive league starts, but he insists he is only really concerned about his fitness ahead of the game. Stoke forward Jon Walters looks set to be available for Saturday’s Barclays Premier League home clash with West Brom having returned to training this week. Press Associationcenter_img Regarding the potential landmark, Walters, quoted by The Sentinel, said: “No, it doesn’t matter to me. Every game is a game and you just want to play. “You can make a big thing of it, but to me it’s only a number and there’s people who’ve played a lot more. It doesn’t make an ounce of difference to me. “The injury situation was far more important and I feel okay now after joining in training this week.” He added: “I don’t usually get muscle injuries, so it was a bit of a strange one for me. “It was a little tear in the groin which I picked up after half-an-hour of the Norwich game (a 1-0 home league defeat on September 29). “I jumped up for a corner and landed on my back, so I don’t know whether that’s when I did it. “I didn’t train afterwards, not until the Friday before the game at Fulham (a 1-0 away league reverse on October 5), but then I hurt it again during that game and thought it best to see the doctor. “He said that after a couple of injuries it wouldn’t be wise to go and play for Ireland in Germany, especially as we would have a lot of chasing back to do out there.” last_img read more