Corbett still mulling over Pa. budget

Posted: July 05, 2014

HARRISBURG - A day after the climactic end to the budget marathon in the state House - with a cigarette tax for Philadelphia and a pension bill ready to be voted on - Gov. Corbett was still mum about when, or if, he will sign the budget delivered to him Monday by the legislature.

Corbett, his perfect on-time budget deadline streak broken, has 10 days to sign the $29.1 billion spending plan.

"He's still reviewing it," said Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni, offering no additional details.

If he doesn't sign the budget by Thursday, the bill becomes law. The last time a governor did not sign a budget was in the mid-1970s.

Corbett also could veto the whole budget or strike certain line items from the document.

Corbett has said he wanted a plan to cut state pension costs on his desk before signing the budget or signing off on the legislation to authorize a cigarette tax.

So far only the Senate has approved a pension plan, and it is a modest proposal that only affects current and future elected officials.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said Wednesday that Corbett ought to sign the budget because the House GOP has done everything it can to move a pension plan forward with an anticipated vote in the fall.

"This gives time for the governor to help make the public case district by district, county by county, against the status quo that is not working and bankrupting taxpayers," said Turzai's spokesman, Steve Miskin.

At the same time, several key bills remain in play in the Senate, which returns on Tuesday, including the fiscal code that authorizes spending and the cigarette tax.

The House angered some members in the Senate when it stripped out from the fiscal code millions in funding for several line items, including the $80 million City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ), a popular economic development program.

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