Budget remains unsigned on Corbett's desk because it lacks pension reform

Budget remains unsigned on Corbett's desk because it lacks pension reform

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's new fiscal year has already begun, but the state's 2014-2015 budget remains on the governor's desk unsigned.

Governor Corbett refused to sign the spending plan Monday night because it lacks pension contribution relief and Wednesday the governor held a news conference to stress the importance of pension reform.

Speaking from the Governor's Reception room in Harrisburg, Corbett said while he continues to review the 2014-2015 unsigned budget, he is urging the legislature to move forward on his pension reform plan now.

"We need reform for families of Pennsylvania we can not continue to see our property taxes increase," he said.

State pension reform is apparently the sticking point for Corbett's refusal to sign the state budget this past Monday night.

The governor's administration has been pushing a plan that moves state employees from a government funded pension plan to a system that's similar to a 401(k) plan.

"The state pension costs $50 billion and in three years will rise to $65 billion. Sixty-three cents on every dollar goes to pensions costs. Doing nothing is not an option," the governor said.

Chris Borick, the director of the Institute for Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, believes Corbett's pension push does not look promising.

"That's what the Governor is trying to do now, kick start that process by using this moment of budget negotiations to push on that front, how successful he'll be looks in doubt," Borick said.

What also looks doubtful according to Borick is bridging the gap of a $1 billion budget shortfall.

After months of lower than expected revenue collections, and no major tax hikes, Borick says the governor is in a tough spot.

"This budget has stayed away from education cuts and the opportunity to put money back in in an election year is off the table and for a governor who is down in the polls significantly is a tough situation," Borick said.

The governor says every option is on the table right now, including vetoing the budget.

If the governor does not sign the budget within ten days, it automatically becomes law.

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