| HARRISBURG, Penn., July 2
HARRISBURG, Penn., July 2 Pennsylvania Governor
Tom Corbett on Wednesday would not rule out a budget veto if
state lawmakers fail to enact reforms for the state's
underfunded public pension system.
The legislature passed a 2015 budget on June 30, the last
day of the fiscal year, but Corbett, who is facing a tough
re-election campaign this year, has not yet signed it.
He said at a press conference that he is still reviewing the
spending plan. When asked whether he would veto the bill without
pension reform legislation, he said that "all options are on the
Corbett, a Republican, is among the weakest incumbent
governors in the United States, and he has struggled to get most
of his major policy initiatives through a legislature controlled
by his own party.
Just over a quarter of Pennsylvania voters believe he has
performed well enough to deserve re-election, according to a
Franklin & Marshall College poll.
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sent
back to committee a bill that would create a "hybrid" pension
plan for new state employees - one that combines elements of a
traditional public-sector defined benefit plan and a newer
401(k)-style defined contribution plan.
After Corbett's press conference on Wednesday, however, the
committee voted it back to the full House.
Pension reform would help struggling school districts and
local governments and spare taxpayers from pension-driven
property tax increases, Corbett said.
He said that 165 of the state's 500 public school districts
requested tax increases above the statutory limit this year, and
that nearly all blamed pension costs.
Corbett has until Friday, July 11, at 11:59 p.m. to sign or
veto the budget. If he does neither, it becomes law without his
(Reporting by David DeKok in Harrisburg; Editing by Hilary Russ
and Lisa Shumaker)