State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Chances of passing pension overhaul with budget looking low

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 12, 2013 9:04 PM
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Photo by G.R. Wilson


Gov. Corbett isn't picking favorites when it comes to his legislative priorities, but leaders in the state House and Senate suggest he's kidding himself if he thinks he'll be able to sign a pension overhaul plan by July.

The mad dash to finish an on-time state budget has, in years past, been preceded by a guessing game of sorts. Which item does the governor want most, and what is he willing to sacrifice?

Gov. Corbett said last week he's not about to rank the items on his to-do list: liquor privatization, pension overhaul, transportation, and, of course, the state budget.

"I think we need all four," said Corbett at an unrelated press conference. "There's eight weeks. A lot of the work has already been done."

But Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi doesn't mind casting doubt on one issue's chances of passing: the governor's three-pronged pension system overhaul.

"We have not even seen committee action on that plan to date," he said. "The bill's just introduced. I believe we have 20 session days left between now and June 30 - and that is a very technically complex and politically difficult task."

The majority leader in the House says his caucus is still studying the governor's pension proposal. Corbett's plan took legislative form within the past week, after three months of looking for sponsors in the House and Senate.

When pressed for an item that might be in the offing, the House sponsor of the governor's pension proposal, Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) deadpanned his response.

"We can run more than four bills in the month of June," he said. "And I bet we will... we're going to try to make sure that these (pension proposals) are some of the four."


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