Pennsylvania’s House and Senate barely approved a new state budget –
Before the start of the new fiscal year July first.
But Governor Tom Corbett held off signing it –
In the vain hope of getting the General Assembly to tackle pension reform.
The minute their respective gavels banged down –
Lawmakers hightailed it out of Harrisburg.
They’ll be back for a week or so in September –
Then disappear until January.
So – Thursday’s news conference was like firing a shot over an empty battlefield.
The governor announced he had signed the budget –
After slashing millions from legislative operations –
And scolded state lawmakers – including fellow Republicans –
For failing to address pension reform.
Corbett has cut state spending –
And backed a successful – bipartisan – effort to fund transportation.
But he hasn’t been able to get traction on pension reform –
Even with the GOP controlling the House and Senate.
The harsh reality is –
The pension plans for teachers and state employees are unsustainable in their current form.
There’s no easy fix –
But we don’t elect a governor and a General Assembly to only tackle simple problems.
So come January –
Pension reform had better be on everyone’s agenda.