Gov. Corbett finally singed the budget pushed through by Republican majorities in the House and Senate though he showed his innate ability to tick off his own Party members by using his line item veto generously. Gov. Gasbag cut funding for the legislature as a message that he wasn’t happy they hadn’t gutted state worker and teacher pensions.
When conservatives use the word “reform” they actually mean “eliminate.” That’s what pension reform does and the Guv’s plan actually would have cost taxpayers more in the long run while gutting the retirements of thousands of Pennsylvanians. These pensions were negotiated in good faith by unions in lieu of higher wages. The Commonwealth refused to adequately fund them (as required by law) until it has become a crisis situation. Corbett’s solution was to simply screw these workers. A new 401(K) system would just result in higher salaries and other benefits for school districts as teachers sought to recoup these lost wages. Meanwhile the current system would still have to be funded, somehow, along with the new one. That would wind up costing more than if we simply funded the current pensions as required by the contracts to which we agreed.
The Governor gave the finger (literally and proverbially) to the State House and Senate by cutting its budget significantly. No need to worry though since they’re sitting on over $150 million in unused prior appropriations. Heaven help the House and Senate have to do what every other state agency has had to since 2008: do more with less.
Other items cut in the line item veto gut funding for state parks, medical assistance, lobbying disclosure, gun checks and other important functions of state government.
This is already a smoke and mirrors budget because it depends on one time sources of income which won’t exist. The Pennsylvania constitution requires a balanced budget but we didn’t have one this year. Because of Corbett’s vast mismanagement of the state economy, at a time when the national economy is doing well, has resulted in significantly decreased revenues. He cut corporate taxes and refused to close loopholes. Jobs aren’t being created and we’re losing hundreds of millions in potential tax revenues of natural gas extraction. We still don’t tax smokeless tobacco for instance.
This is not a balanced budget because the state liquor store system is not going to be privatized. Corbett didn’t have the votes for that in this session or last and he certainly won’t get any cooperation from the House and Senate after cutting their own budgets. This clueless blonde has never learned from his mistakes and refuses to develop any relations with the state legislature even though it is controlled by his own Party. In a way we’re fortunate he’s so incompetent because a lot of potential damage to the citizenry was avoided due to his incompetence.