Governor Offers Budget Proposal

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HARRISBURG -- Governor Tom Corbett delivered his budget address Tuesday in Harrisburg. He called for no new taxes and no big spending cuts, but his $28.4 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year does call for big changes to state government. That includes overhauling the taxes we pay on gasoline and pensions we pay for state employees.

For years, we have heard about Pennsylvania’s crumbling roads and bridges and the massive amount of money needed to repair and replace them all.

Now, Governor Corbett wants to pay for that by using the gasoline we use to drive on those roads. The governor actually wants to cut what we pay in state gasoline taxes by 17 percent but make the oil and gas companies that distribute the gasoline pay more.

There's a cap on how much they have to pay now. The governor wants that limit removed.

"It is time for oil and gas companies to pay their fair share of the cost of the infrastructure supporting their industry."

In his budget address to lawmakers, the governor said the biggest threat to the state is pensions for state workers and retirees.

"Resolving our pension crisis will be the single most important thing we do for decades to come."

Governor Corbett wants to reduce contributions for current state employee pension plans. For future employees, he wants to eliminate pensions and have their retirement plans mirror the 401 (k) type of savings many people in the private sector have.

State workers and public school teachers would fall under this change but no change would come to current retirees.

“The entire system of state pensions has become a mountain of debt, and the avalanche could bury our economic growth, swallow up benefits for our elderly, education for our children, and transportation for our economy.”

Breaking down the governor's 2013-2014 budget proposal, these are the key points:

  • no tax hikes or big spending cuts
  • increase in k-12 education funding
  • change in gasoline taxes
  • reform of state pensions
  • privatizing liquor stores, a proposal we've heard about over the last week.

“I believe we are this close to forever changing Pennsylvania for the better. Even in the hardest times, we believed in better days.”