This week kicks off budget season for the upcoming Fiscal Year, as Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to deliver his annual budget address on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Last week, he announced at a press conference that he plans to generate funding via another tax on the natural gas industry; legalization of marijuana; and with additional money from the federal government that will address a projected deficit for the coming year. The PA Chamber will be following his budget address closely and will provide a detailed analysis on what the plan means for the state’s business community in next week’s Sentinel newsletter.
Due to inclement weather and the cancellation of session today, several committee meetings that were on the schedule have been cancelled or postponed. Noteworthy items on the committee meeting schedule this week include a House Health Committee public hearing on Wednesday that will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of COVID-19 vaccination distribution in Pennsylvania, as the demand for vaccines far outweighs the current supply. On Thursday, the Senate Aging and Youth and Health and Human Services Committees will hold a joint hearing on the same topic.
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission disapproving of a regulation regarding Pennsylvania’s future participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state cap-and-trade program. The PA Chamber has testified multiple times on this subject, speaking to areas of concern for our members related to the potential leakage of power generation resources to neighboring states within the PJM grid, higher energy costs and more.
On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the House Commerce committee will be hosting a public hearing to receive testimony from taverns, clubs and VFW’s regarding the impact of COVID-19 and how the legislature can help them recover from their devastating pandemic era losses.
The full schedule of committee meetings for the week, which remains subject to change, is available on the General Assembly website.