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Pennsylvania pension reform moves then stalls

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The Pennsylvania Senate has passed a pension reform bill – but a House Democratic spokeswoman says the measure is now “dead in the water” on a concurrence vote.

Senate Republican leaders have refused to vote on the House’s natural gas severance tax bill, saying the measure violates the state Constitution by including two bills in one piece of legislation.

But during a committee vote, the Senate did the same thing, adding language creating a new legislative fiscal office into the pension bill.

Governor Rendell and other Democrats are crying foul.

“It amazes me the way we find some things violate the single source doctrine, and others don’t. the same group that’s worried about the single source doctrine over here seems not to worry about it over there.”

A memo drafted by Senate Republican lawyers argues pension reform and the fiscal office are “tightly unified,” and predicts the measure would stand up to a court challenge.

The House inserted the severance tax language into legislation addressing county codes. A spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee says the lower chamber won’t pass the pension bill now.

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