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

Jadeveon Clowney free agency: Giants, Titans, Bills among best fits for Seahawks pass-rusher in 2020

first_imgJadeveon Clowney is the best edge rusher available in 2020 NFL free agency. Although he wants to return to the Seahawks, who traded with the Texans to get him right before the 2019 season began, he might be too expensive for Seattle to keep for the long term.​Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick of Houston in the 2015 NFL Draft, turned 27 in February, so he still has several good seasons left. Battling to play through a core muscle injury last season, he was disruptive when pressuring quarterbacks (despite only 3 sacks) and stopping the run over 13 productive games. He also recorded an interception and scored two defensive touchdowns. 5. Buffalo BillsBuffalo enters free agency with more than $82 million in available cap space. Lorenzo Alexander retired, and both Shaq Lawson and Mo Alexander are free agents. Sean McDermott’s defense did manage 44 sacks last season, but Lawson and another pending free agent, tackle Jordan Phillips, combined for 16 of them.Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy were good last season, but Clowney was much better all-around than both. The Bills can afford the luxury of starting Clowney and creating a stronger pressure rotation, especially knowing Ed Oliver is a rising pass-rusher inside.4. New York GiantsThe Giants are surfacing as a hot Clowney suitor with more than $72 million in available cap space. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham did not have a game-changing edge presence for his base 3-4 in Miami. With Markus Golden a pending free agent, there is a massive void in New York for such a player.A player like Clowney is needed for young front seven in which the best pieces are Dexter Lawrence and Ryan Connelly, both in their second seasons. Dave Gettleman sounds like he might be more aggressive than usual to build a complementary defense for what could be a highly productive offense led by Daniel Jones. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/cc/fd/jadeveon-clowney-030920-getty-ftr_19n0g29qa566c16071icjwse67.jpg?t=-1067636888&w=500&quality=80 Clowney in Indy would be able to remain at end in Matt Eberflus’ base 4-3, much like he did for the Seahawks. The Colts already are tough against the run, and Clowney would give them an even stouter front. Working off Houston, who had 11 sacks in a durable age-30 season in 2019, Clowney could wreak plenty of havoc with his 6-5, 255-pound frame.1. Tennessee TitansIf we are to believe the Titans are a top suitor for Tom Brady, then they would be in line to make some other splashy moves. Much has been made of Brady’s friendship with Mike Vrabel, but Clowney has a close connection to the Tennessee coach, too. When Vrabel coordinated the Texans’ defense in 2017, Clowney hit peak performance with a career-high 9.5 sacks. The Titans need a younger-yet-seasoned upgrade from Cameron Wake on the edge opposite Harold Landry.Tennessee has more than $50 million under the cap, leaving ample room for both Brady and Clowney. Landry and Clowney would be a devastating combination for Vrabel’s base 3-4 defense, which is on the verge of being a top-10 unit overall. 3. Seattle SeahawksClowney was a good, versatile fit in their front seven, and the Seahawks, at around $44 million under the cap, have the means to make it work. They are looking at Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson and Jarran Reed as key unrestricted free agents on the defensive line, and outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks carries the same status.The Seahawks won’t be positioned well defensively if end L.J. Collier, a rotational player with no sacks as a rookie, must lead the returning pass-rush charge. Consider Seattle vs. the field to be an even race for Clowney going into free agency.2. Indianapolis ColtsThe Colts are one of two non-Texans AFC South destinations that make sense for Clowney. They have a middle-of-the-road pass rush led by Justin Houston and Jabaal Sheard, who also is a pending free agent at age 31. The Colts have more than $86 million in available cap space, second most in the league. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/9b/56/jadeveon-clowney-030920-getty-ftr_16azf29uuvnzn1uy2upx5rwmcf.jpg?t=-1067762528&w=500&quality=80 NFL FREE AGENTS:Ranking the top available players in 2020In terms of average annual salary at the position, the leaders are the Bears’ Khalil Mack ($23.5 million), the Cowboys’ Demarcus Lawrence ($21 million) and the Chiefs’ Frank Clark ($20.8 million), a former Seahawk whom Clowney helped replace.Those numbers represent the yearly parameters for what Clowney is reportedly (and justly) seeking based on the market, a significant raise from the near $16 million guaranteed he made after being franchise-tagged and traded by the Texans last year.A five-year deal makes sense, as it would sign Clowney through his age-32 season. The overall guarantee would need to be in the range of three times of what he would get annually.Based on all that and the teams that both need him and can afford him, here are Clowney’s best signing fits.last_img read more

Vancouver family continues to advocate for window safety

first_imgIf it wasn’t for the 6-inch scar across the right side of Thomas Keen Cunningham’s head, it’d be difficult to tell he fell out of a window in 2010 and almost died.Thomas was 3 when he fell out of a second-story window at his family’s Cascade Park home, fractured his skull and underwent a long recovery for traumatic brain injury.At 12, he’s able to play tennis, volleyball and run track. As his mother, Becca Keen Cunningham, wrote in an email interview conducted while the family was traveling in Japan: “Thomas is doing great now.”Thomas has restrictions involving sports with higher concussion rates, and he will always have to be vigilant and protective of his head; a mild concussion could have devastating consequences for him, his mother wrote.That’s why Keen Cunningham has stayed active raising awareness around window falls, which happen to 3,300 children ages 6 and younger each year in the U.S., and kill eight of those children on average, according to stopat4.com, a window safety advocacy website.last_img read more