Governor Corbett Comments on Budget Negotiations; Reaffirms Need for Pension Reform and Liquor Bill

Harrisburg
– Governor Tom Corbett today issued the following statement, setting
his expectations for budget negotiations as the June 30 deadline approaches:“This year we face a harsh budget reality. Revenue shortfalls, combined with nearly
$700 million in reduced federal funding to our state, has contributed to a more than
$1.5 billion budget gap.“During my time in office, we have worked to improve our schools, help those who
need it most, and help business thrive.

“All that hard work is in jeopardy. We need a responsible budget more than ever
before.

“This year, we face two issues that have been waiting on a solution for decades.

“The first issue is a matter of fiscal survival. Right now, our two state pension
systems have become a tapeworm, eating at the budget and threatening economic
growth and the very programs in which those state and public school employees
work.

“The debt in our pension system has risen to approximately $50 billion. Pension
costs are consuming approximately 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund
revenues.

“Through the leadership of Majority Leader Turzai and Representatives Tobash,
Kampf and Ross, as well as Senators Browne and Brubaker, we’ve seen progress on
legislation.

“We must accomplish meaningful pension reform, including moving from an
unsustainable system to a more progressive defined contributions plan. If we do not
do this, pension obligations will balloon. Dollars intended for education, human
services and public safety will instead go toward paying legacy costs for services
long ago rendered.

“In addition, Pennsylvania remains one of two states that impose a system of beer,
wine and liquor sales that more closely resembles prohibition than repeal. It’s time
we announced last-call for this outdated system.“It can be accomplished responsibly, and most of all, in a way that finally gives our
citizens the choice and convenience that ought to be available to any responsible
adult.

“We can resolve both these issues with political will and bipartisan cooperation by
June 30. But, if we cannot, I am prepared to stay to resolve our differences for the
people of Pennsylvania.

“We need to stand firm for our citizens. They have waited too long for the common-
sense solutions that we can make happen if we put their needs ahead of the special
interests.”

Last week, the governor pledged his support for Amendment A06917 by Rep. Mike
Tobash (R-Schuylkill) to House Bill 1353, originally introduced by Rep. Warren
Kampf (R-Chester). This bill would create a hybrid plan for pension reform that
would not change benefits for existing participants or retirees. It establishes that all
new employees who enter the state systems would be enrolled in a combination of
401(k)-type and traditional pension plan.

 

written by: Office of Governor


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