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Corbett Lists his 2013 Priorities

During a recent Press Club luncheon, Governor Tom Corbett hinted at some of his 2013 priorities, many of which include broad policy areas where he could seek major reform, including liquor privatization, pension reform, and a long term transportation plan.

Corbett aides have suggested that the transportation plan could be unveiled prior to the annual budget speech in early February. No additional details were given, such as whether the plan would raise the cap on the oil company franchise fee, or other fees for licenses and registrations.

After waiting for more than a year for a transportation plan from the Governor, legislative leaders have indicated that if a plan is not unveiled around the time of the budget speech that they will move forward with their own plan, seeking the governor’s input.

Other issues discussed at the luncheon included the potential impact the fiscal cliff could have on Pennsylvania’s budget and economy, noting that if Congress cannot come to an agreement by January 1, then a planned mixture of budget cuts and tax hikes go into effect which will negatively impact the state’s businesses and residents.

Corbett also said that he believed that the Shell ethane cracker would be in a position to break ground with in the next year or two. And, that he only favors privatizing the state lottery system if a private business can guarantee higher revenues for programs for the elderly.

The state will also have to make major decisions on implementation of Obamacare, including expanding Medicaid, which the Governor said will cost the state as much as $221 million, and establishment of a Health Insurance Exchange for qualifying individuals.  The administration will have to announce whether the state will run its own health insurance exchange by Dec. 14, or whether the commonwealth will partner with the federal government or let the feds run the exchange.