Many legislative leaders are unhappy with Governor Tom Corbett’s decision to slash their operating budget while signing the new state budget.
Radio PA News reports that House Majority Leader Mike Turzai says he believes the Governor used lawmakers as scapegoats, and suggests that his line item vetoes of parts of the state legislature’s budget were off target.
Corbett did sign the $29 billion state spending plan, but struck out $65 million from the lawmakers’ budget and $7.2 million from projects designated by the legislature. He had previously hinted at a veto of the entire budget unless the General Assembly acted on the issue of public pension reform.
A statement issued by Senate Republicans said linking pension reform to punitive program cuts is not a successful strategy. Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa said the veto does nothing to address the needs of Pennsylvania. The House Democratic leadership claimed the Governor is unwilling to face the reality that his policies have not worked.
Corbett has some rank-and-file support. Republican House member Seth Grove reminded us that public pension reform is a major issue in Pennsylvania, and credits Corbett’s action as an effort to spur action on reform.
Meanwhile, a state political expert says, if Corbett had simply allowed the budget to become law without his signature, it would have signaled weakness. Franklin and Marshall College professor Dr. Terry Madonna told Radio PA News signing the spending plan as was would have taken away the Governor’s leverage, and vetoing the entire budget would have left the door open to punitive changes by the legislature.
Lawmakers could still, by a two-thirds majority in both chambers, override the line item vetoes.