Pa. legislators say new fiscal office is on the way

    Pennsylvania Senate Republicans have gotten some traction on their ongoing push for a new fiscal office to oversee state budget priorities. State legislators plan to hammer out the details this fall.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers have vowed to create a new legislative fiscal office by the end of the month. Leaders in the General Assembly say it will be a priority in the session that starts next week.

    The new legislative office would serve as a counterbalance to the governor’s Office of the Budget, which sets the revenue estimates spending plans are based on.

    Republican Senator Pat Browne of Lehigh County says the new department would provide an independent set of numbers, so the executive branch doesn’t drive the conversation during budget negotiations. He says lawmakers are working out the details of the measure before the House and Senate return later this month.

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    “The one, I guess, major issue that’s trying to be worked out is its authority to set the commonwealth’s revenue estimate,” he says. “Right now the language is that it would be the body that would be charged with setting the revenue estimate for both the legislative and the executive branches.”

    Browne says some legislators aren’t comfortable with giving the new office so much power.

    As a compromise, the Legislative Fiscal Office and the executive branch could work together to set the revenue estimate.

    The measure has been a top priority for Senate Republicans all year.

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