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Gov. Wolf sees ‘new spirit of compromise’ in Harrisburg

Medical marijuana bill, liquor reforms, latest budget deal cited as progress ahead of fall session

Which came first: the wine or the bottle to contain that wine as it is shipped from California to Pennsylvania?

Of course, wineries can’t sell wine without packaging, and the direct shipping aspect got a whole lot easier this year with recent changes in the state liquor law.

But the liquor reform bill, which made purchasing alcohol more convenient for state residents, sparks a similar question: What’s the connection between a presidential election year and a series of successful issues being addressed by the General Assembly and the Wolf administration? There was a major budget roadblock last year that carried into March.

But a medical marijuana bill was approved this spring, the liquor law changes came out this summer and compromises were found much quicker with respect to the 2016-17 state budget, including more money that Gov. Tom Wolf wanted for education. He earlier backed down on proposed hikes to the state sales and personal income tax.

Some observers might argue the compromises were motivated by the desire to avoid gridlock in an election year. And the focus this fall will be doing more to combat the opioid crisis. 

In a conference call with the Business Journal, Wolf said he sees a “new spirit of compromise” in Harrisburg. The liquor bill that went into law this month is just the latest reflection of that new spirit of working together, he said. 

Wolf said he doesn’t think the election is “as important as people deciding they want to do the right thing.”

He also said he expects to see other bipartisan issues get done. Public-sector pension reform could be the next big item to check off the legislative list.

“There is some interest in pension reform,” he said, suggesting it’s possible that issue will be addressed this fall based on the recent momentum.

CPBJ Staff
Contact the Editorial Department at [email protected]

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