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Politics & Government

Corbett Signs Budget, But Cuts Off General Assembly Funds

Though Gov. Tom Corbett signed the 2014-15 state budget, he line-item vetoed $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative designated spending.

He said he did this because the lawmakers sent him a budget that was filled with discretionary spending but refused to deal with the unsustainable public pension system.

Instead, he said the Assembly increased its $320 million budget by two percent – which he said would cost taxpayers an additional $5 million.

“In addition to that $320 million, they refuse to use any of their own $150 million plus budgetary reserves – equivalent to six months’ worth of taxpayer funded surplus – to help close the budget.”

The line-item vetoed expenditures includes $300,000 for the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority one of two Act 47 oversight bodies for the city of Pittsburgh.

Corbett said he wanted to avoid school districts from continuing to have to raise property taxes due to their pension obligations.

“More than 163 school districts already have been forced to raise property taxes on Pennsylvania families to pay for skyrocketing pension costs,” he said. “We cannot afford to add any additional districts to this list.”

Representative Joe Markosek (D - Allegheny), chairman of the Democratic House Appropriations Committee, called the line-item vetoes a “desperate act of a frustrated governor whose failed agenda has short-changed Pennsylvanians.”

“We don’t have a pension problem, we have a revenue problem that was created by him when he cut business taxes by over $2 billion over the last four years and then proceeded to cut education funding by a like amount over that time period,” Markosek said.

No Democrats voted for the budget.

“We weren’t part of it, they never talked to us, the governor never talked to us, didn’t seek very much of our opinions relative to the budget, so we voted ‘no’ and now he doesn’t like it,” Markosek said.

The governor fell short of calling for a special legislative session but said all options are still on the table.

“Pennsylvania’s legislature is a full time legislature,” Corbett said. “The General Assembly last left Harrisburg earlier this month with unfinished business, they need to come back and enact pension reform.”