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

Liverpool pay respects at memorial

first_img Current manager Brendan Rodgers will give a reading, as will Everton boss Roberto Martinez. It is an emotional week for Liverpool, and a number of tributes were also held prior to Sunday’s game against Manchester City. Captain Steven Gerrard, whose 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley was the youngest of the 96 victims, was in tears after his side’s 3-2 win over one of their main title rivals. Gerrard said: “The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell. “It wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool. It’s emotional for so many people. “I’m speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough. “All the squad will be present at the service to pay our respects as we should.” During the service, the number ’96’ will be laid out on the pitch in large figures made up of scarves donated by fans of all clubs and from various sporting institutions. Liverpool’s players will be in attendance as Anfield hosts the annual memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster. Press Association Kenny Dalglish, manager at the time of the disaster, assisted in this initiative by writing to all 92 League clubs as well as the English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh national teams for support. The inspiration for the idea came from the ‘mile of scarves’ formed between Anfield and Goodison Park a week after the disaster in commemoration in 1989. More than 4,000 scarves were tied together. The scarves will be donated to local good causes, including homeless charities, after the service by the Liverpool FC Foundation. Next week, a celebration of the lives of the 96 victims is planned with a charity match in support of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. A team of UK and Irish Liverpool legends, managed by Dalglish, will take on a side of international Reds greats, under the charge of Gerard Houllier. The commemorations come a fortnight after fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 victims opened in Warrington. Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of when 96 Liverpool supporters were killed at the Reds’ FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield. The whole Liverpool squad will be present along with directors, other staff and a number of former players and managers. last_img read more