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Budget issues in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Capitol
Pennsylvania State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Tom Corbett was handed a budget by the legislature, but he's not happy.

Yet again, the legislative branch has refused to address the issue of pension reform, and is in recess now so it can't deal with it. This has been a bone of contention between Corbett and legislators for years, and it's not likely that there will be any meaningful movement on the issue.

This is in spite of the fact that everyone is seeing clear examples of what can go wrong when government does not come up with a fiscally responsible way to deal with these expenses. Detroit is arguably a prime example, even though it is just a city.

Another issue where the legislators and Corbett do not see eye to eye is taxes. The governor is determined to not raise taxes, and has been insisting on government trimming the fat to accomplish this. The legislators response was to call for a 2% increase in their budget.

Corbett is facing Democrat opponent Tom Wolf in November, and if Wolf wins, Pennsylvanians can look forward to higher taxes, and possibly higher employment rates. Wolf is for taxing energy companies that have been a major source of job growth in the Commonwealth, and is campaigning on initiating extraction taxes. Corbett has avoided levying those taxes, and that has encouraged growth in shale gas particularly.

This could be the last best chance Pennsylvania has to keep from being mired in debt to meet unrealistic demands from public service unions when it comes to pensions. If Corbett does not succeed in getting the assembly to deal with this issue in a meaningful manner, it's not likely it will happen until it's too late.

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