HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has used the line veto to eliminate $65 million from the $29.1 billion state budget.
The governor held a news conference Thursday morning at the state Capitol to announce he signed the budget, but he used the line item veto to reduce spending and slammed the Legislature for not passing pension reform.
"They filled the budget with discretionary spending, then refused to deal with the biggest financial challenge facing the state," Corbett said.
The budget was approved by the state House and Senate just before the July 1 deadline, but it sat on the governor's desk until Thursday morning.
Corbett announced he is using the line item veto to eliminate $65 million from the plan for General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative designated spending.
"His actions strike me as a petulant child," said Pennsylvania Representative Mike Schlossberg, an Allentown Democrat. "It just doesn't make sense. He's had four years to try and negotiate a pension plan."
Wanting to avoid more school districts from raising property taxes to cover pension costs, Corbett pleaded for reform.
"It is time for much needed financial relief to our families, senior citizens, school districts and communities," Corbett added.
The question now for legislators is can reform be done, especially after the governor blasted them publicly.
"Always a continuing discussion. Like they say, 24 hours is a lifetime in politics," said Pennsylvania Representative Doyle Heffley, a Carbon County Republican.
But Corbett's political life is in peril. Polls have him trailing Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate for governor, by 20 points.
"He needs to shake up this campaign. He needs to shake up public perception of him," said Chris Borick, a political pundit.
Borick said Thursday's attempt was part of a broader effort to show Corbett is trying to get things done.
"It would be fairly historic if governor able to raise his margin in the next few months. It's not impossible, but he has his work cut out for him," Borick added.
Corbett also cut $7.2 million from earmarked projects designated by General Assembly, however, what many will see as a positive, the budget does not include tax increases.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News