plans include Pension Reform and more Money for Education
February 5, 2014
HARRISBURG(AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett is asking lawmakers to approve changes to
Pennsylvania's public employee pension system in an effort to save $300 million
for the state and school districts next year.
Republican governor made the appeal during his budget address to lawmakers
Tuesday. Corbett presented lawmakers with a $29.4 billion proposal that would
increase funding for schools and social services. Cuts to those areas helped
balance his first two budgets.
says inaction is unwise and unfair to children and the schools. Rising pension
costs is one of Corbett's biggest fiscal challenges, and he says it's also
driving up local property taxes.
Joe Scarnati said he is glad the Govenor is making pension reform a priority.
He also said, “For us to find the
dollars to spend on education, on nursing homes, hospitals, and health care we
need to make changes to the pension system.”
year, Corbett proposed reductions in pension benefits for future and current
employees, but it fell flat with lawmakers. Now, he wants to reduce pension
benefits just for future employees, but he hasn't said how.
costs more immediately, he wants to postpone some pension payments into future
years. The Senate and House will now hold three weeks of budget hearings on the
governor’s proposal. A new state budget must
be in place by June 30th.
candidates for the Democratic nomination — John Hanger, Rob McCord, Katie
McGinty, Allyson Schwartz and Tom Wolf — cited Corbett's $1 billion-plus cut in
education spending in 2011 and said the 2014-15 budget won't make up that loss.
the state treasurer, calls Corbett's proposals "too little, too
late." Wolf, a businessman, says Corbett's sudden interest in education
funding is "disingenuous." U.S. Rep. Schwartz says his proposals
amount to "stale policy."
Senate Democrats said the budget proposal falls short in areas including a plan
for creating jobs and economic development across Pennsylvania, adequately
funding education, failing to expand the state’s Medicaid program to provide
some 500,000 low-income working Pennsylvanians with health care insurance, no
plan to raise the state’s minimum wage, and inadequate funding to counties for
health and human services programs.
Democrats, pointing out that the governor is running for reelection this year,
are pleased that the budget holds the line on state taxes but says it amounts
to nothing more than a new spin on an old agenda.
Senate and House will now hold three weeks of budget hearings on the governor’s
proposal. A new state budget must be in
place by June 30th.