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Beyond the Budget

As for Corbett’s other priorities – transportation funding, liquor privatization, and pension reform – many pieces remain in motion, but votes and clear resolution disappeared over the weekend.  The Capitol hopes to reconsider these issues in September.

Beginning February 5, with the Governor’s budget proposal, the targets for June 30 were clear in everyone’s minds. The Governor had outlined three major initiatives along with the 2013-2014 budget that were priorities: funding to fill the $4.3 billion state transportation infrastructure need, privatizing the state’s liquor system, and reform of the state pension system, to begin addressing the more than $40 billion deficit in the pension fund reserves. 

By mid-June, it appeared that the budget was all but done; pension reform was staggering under the weight of competing studies by accounting firms which showed huge differences in reputed results from changes. A standard assumption was that the House and Senate leadership would eventually craft a deal recognizing the situation facing roads and bridges, and the state’s major transit systems. And the Governor and House Republicans expected the Senate to find the votes to move some form of liquor privatization.

In the end, all efforts to work out a combination of liquor privatization and transportation funding failed, with neither the House nor Senate approving a version of the legislation the other chamber passed earlier in the spring.