New faces come to town. Last week Pennsylvania voters went to the polls for mainly local municipal elections. But, in four area across the state, special elections were held for two state Senate seats and anther two state House seats. None of the four elections will change the balance of power in the General Assembly make up for this session.

State Representative Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna) will now move over to the Senate to take the 22nd District seat previously held by John Blake who retired earlier this year.

Republican Chris Gebhard will become the new Senator in the 48th District (Lebanon/Dauphin Counties) to fill the spot previously held by the late Dave Arnold who passed away earlier this year.

Republican Linda Rossi became the new State Representative of the 59th District (Westmoreland County) who succeeds the late Mike Reese who also passed away earlier this year.

Republican Abby Major will succeed her boss in the 60th District (Armstrong County). Ms. Major was the former Chief of Staff to State Representative Jeff Pyle who resigned earlier this year due to ongoing health challenges.

APC congratulates all four winners in the state’s special elections.

Setting the stage for some interesting discussions. As the General Assembly gears up for its annual “state budget rush” the numbers recently released by the State Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) put an interesting twist on the anticipated negotiations. The IFO regularly analyzes state revenues and expenditures and provides various modeling and forecasting data. Their recent report indicates that a healthy budget surplus is expected for the final FY 2020-21 state budget. The IFO did note that this is largely due to large infusions of revenue from the federal government which will end in two years. But, the IFO did note that with careful planning and budgeting the General Assembly can avoid catastrophic collapses in funding. The announcement from the IFO wasn’t unexpected and will play into the budget negotiations as we move into the month of June.

Upcoming schedule. The General Assembly will take a mini Memorial Day recess and will reconvene on Monday, June 7 for the beginning of a very active month in the legislative calendar. The State Constitution mandates that the General Assembly much enact a fiscal budget by July 1 of each year.