PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Governor Tom Corbett was in Pittsburgh and talked about several issues affecting the state, including the natural gas industry, education and the proposed privatization of the state’s liquor stores.
Corbett says that even though an advisory panel recommended a so-called “impact fee” for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, he does not support new taxes on the industry.
The fee would go to local communities that may incur costs associated with the process.
“And an appropriate impact fee … I can see adopting and making sure the money goes into the communities,” he said.
Meantime, school districts across the state are coping with budget cuts after education funding in the state budget was sharply cut back.
To save costs, some school districts are considering four-day weeks.
Corbett says a four-day school week may be an option for schools if it complies with the school code. He has yet to consult with his education secretary on that idea.
Also, Corbett still thinks mergers are a good option, but says there are other ways to trim costs.
“I will go back and say I’m disappointed,” he said. “Again, when I made my budget speech on March 8, I asked teachers, the administrators and the support staff to take a one-year pay freeze to help and only about 15 percent of the school districts did.”
Another issue in state politics is the idea of privatizing the state’s Wine & Spirits stores. Last year, the stores made $1.9 billion and $105 million of it went directly to the state.
In recent weeks, Republican leaders of the State Senate say they’re not ready to move on it very quickly.
Corbett called on the legislature to set aside competing interests and focus on sale. He says money from sale could help fund transportation.
“That is certainly one area where we could put into a trust fund, manage that trust fund and help manage transportation,” he said.