The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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June 30, 2013

Corbett signs on-time budget

Longietti is lone 'no' vote in county delegation

HARRISBURG — A $28.4 billion Pennsylvania budget plan for the fiscal year that does not raise taxes has passed the Legislature on the final day of the fiscal year.

But Gov. Tom Corbett went 0-for-3 on the big policy issues he’d staked out in his budget speech – transportation funding, dismantling the liquor monopoly and reforming the public sector pension system

Lawmakers are due to remain in Harrisburg to wrap up work on some bills connected to the budget, but Corbett said nothing will happen on transportation or liquor privatization until the fall.

Corbett pledged to fight on, saying that he has been encouraged by the progress for the remainder of the 2013-14 legislative session if needed. Corbett is up for re-election in November 2014.

“This is just the first quarter,” Corbett said after signing the budget.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said that because the legislature didn’t pass transportation funding, 1,200 bridges will get weight limits placed on them and the train route between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh is in jeopardy.

Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria County, is the Democratic chairman of the transportation committee.

“We’re disappointed,” Wozniak said. “Of all the issues on the table, transportation was going to be the big job stimulator. And the closer you get to the time to circulate election petitions, the less likely anything will get done. And  that’s a lost construction season, maybe two.”

The push for a multi-billion dollar transportation plan unraveled Saturday in the state House. With no movement on transportation in the House, leaders in the Senate have refused to move on legislation that would dismantle the state liquor monopoly. Pension reform, the third policy issue identified by Corbett, hasn’t gotten traction in either the House or the Senate. Finally, the Senate passed a revision to the Welfare Code that creates a pathway for Medicaid expansion but Republicans in the House oppose expansion.

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