HARRISBURG, Pa., July 10 (UPI) —
After a week’s delay, Gov. Tom Corbett signed the Pennsylvania budget Thursday while urging lawmakers to return to Harrisburg to act on pension reform.
Corbett used his line-item veto to eliminate $65 million in funding for legislative operations and $7 million in special projects from the $29 billion spending plan. The Republican governor said the Republican legislative majority forced him to do so by dodging pension reform.
"Pennsylvania’s legislature is a full-time legislature, and they left Harrisburg with unfinished business," Corbett said. "They need to come back and take action on pension reform."
Corbett is running for a second term in November and hopes to be able to campaign on pension reform. A recent poll put him 22 percentage points behind Democrat Tom Wolf, a York businessman and former state revenue secretary.
The budget contains no new taxes or tax increases, but Corbett and his budget secretary, Charles Zogby, said the legislature increased spending for its own operations by 2 percent even though the state faces a deficit of more than $1 billion.
"We took a number of steps to fill that gap, and you had the legislature adding to its budget," Zogby told reporters.
The state’s new fiscal year began July 1.