In the few days remaining in the 2016-17 legislative session, the Pennsylvania General Assembly faces some daunting challenges.
Leaders have been collaborating on a possible solution to Pennsylvania’s pension debt. While both parties agree that the $60 billion unfunded liabuility is unsustainable, there is no consensus on how to address it. Several bills have received attention and observers point to a flurry of recent meetings designed to move parties closer together. The reality is that the state’s annual share of pension costs will exceed $2 billion in the coming fiscal year – crowding out any new funding for schools, environment or social services. Look for a compromise “side-by-side hybrid” solution that adds some incentives to bring stake-holders on board. Most believe that it will be offered as an amendment to SB 1071 that has already passed the Senate but is languising in the House of Representatives.
On another front, a number of proposals have been put forth to deal with opiod addiction in the state. The Governor has called for a special session on the issue but, as of now, no such session has been scheduled.
The reality is that the November elections are looming large for all members of the House and 25 members of the Senate.
Their priority is to emerge for the fall session in time to hit the campaign trail.