Gov. Tom Corbett Thursday announced he signed both the FY 2014-2015 General Appropriations Act and corresponding Fiscal Code, but used his line-item veto authority to nix $72.2 million of the General Assembly’s appropriation for the fiscal year.
“The final budget they sent me, coupled with [the General Assembly’s] failure to address critical challenges facing our state, causes me concern,” Gov. Corbett said.
He argued that while Pennsylvania is facing a structural deficit, the legislature saw fit to increase its appropriation by two percent and add $5 million to pay for parking in Harrisburg without tapping into more than $150 million in legislative reserves.
“They filled the budget with discretionary spending and then refused to deal with the biggest fiscal challenge facing Pennsylvania: our unsustainable public pension system,” the governor said, noting he is forcing “mutual sacrifice” with the General Assembly in making the line-item veto.
Of the line items vetoed, the governor cut the legislature’s general operating expense by $65 million.
He also vetoed certain legislative-designated expenditures in the amount of $7.2 million, with $5 million cut for Harrisburg parking; $100,000 for the Civil Air Patrol; $250,000 of general government operations money for the Department of Labor and Industry; $550,000 in cuts to the Department of Community and Economic Development; $850,000 in cuts to the Department of Environmental Protection; $300,000 in cuts to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for heritage and other parks; and $45,000 in cuts to the Treasury for intergovernmental organizations.
Finally, the governor vetoed $20 million in transfers to the General Fund, including a reduction in the transfer from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund by $15 million and the Small Business First Fund Transfer by $5 million.
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said the cuts were brought on by the failure of the legislature to enact meaningful pension reform and that there was no budget agreement that included the administration.
“We had a budget that had a revenue number in it that the governor was not comfortable with, additional transfers that the governor was not comfortable with…I think it went in the wrong direction from the governor’s perspective,” he said. “Not only is that not acceptable, but moreover, the General Assembly left here not dealing with what is the single largest cost-driver in the budget: our pension costs.”
Of course the general assembly, Democrat and Republican, are not happy with this.
I applaud the governor. The public pensions are going to put PA in economic disaster.
No one today receives defined benefit pensions except those who retired long ago. Everyone in the private business and employment who receives pensions receive defined contribution 401(k) type pensions. How can our state government and local school districts fund benefits for pensions guaranteeing a certain amount of retirement income? With stock market ups and downs and tax revenue increases based on increased pension needs, the state and local school districts will go out of business. Bankrupt.
With defined contribution, the employee and the state, local districts fund the pensions of employees by depositing certain amounts of money without guarantees of what the total will be worth at retirement. The employee assumes responsibility of choosing investment vehicles with advisers and also responsibility of helping to fund their own pensions. If this is what’s done in most jobs and places of business, why would public (government) employees have something so much better which will cause economic distress and probably bankruptcy to Pennsylvania?
It’s time Pennsylvania tax payers wake up to the facts. And our responsibilities.
Stand behind Governor Corbett in his line item veto. Call your assemblyman and state senator and air your opinion.