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Gov. Corbett Withholds Signature From $29.1B Budget

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett says he won’t sign a $29.1 billion spending plan for Pennsylvania state government before the fiscal year ends at midnight, saying he’ll continue to seek passage of a meaningful bill to reduce future public pension costs.

Corbett issued the following statement Monday night on the $29.1 billion spending plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year passed by the General Assembly:

“We are elected to serve the best interests of the people of Pennsylvania. Leadership is not always about the popular choices; it’s about difficult choices.

“The budget I received tonight makes significant investments in our common priorities of education, jobs and human services. It does not address all the difficult choices that still need to be made.

“It leaves pensions, one of the largest expenses to the commonwealth and our school districts, on the table, leaving the weight on Pennsylvania taxpayers and perpetuating the tug of war over state funding every single year.

“Pension costs are consuming more than 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund revenues.

“For the single parent who struggles to pay the bills every day, for the child going to school who deserves a quality education, for the elderly couple living on a fixed income, I will continue to fight for pension reform and real relief for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.

“Every dollar saved through pension reform is a dollar we have to invest in Pennsylvania’s children, to reduce waiting lists for much-needed services for our most vulnerable, and to make improvements to our public safety system.

“I will continue to work with the legislature toward meaningful pension reform. I am withholding signing the budget passed by the General Assembly while I deliberate its impact on the people of Pennsylvania.”

Corbett’s move Monday night comes after leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities couldn’t drum up enough support to pass pension legislation backed by Corbett.

That legislation would reduce future public employee pension benefits to bring a savings of more than $10 billion over 30 years.

But Democrats were united in opposition, and Republicans opposed it.

Instead, the Senate passed a bill would shift state lawmakers, judges, the governor and four other elected executive branch officials into a 401(k)-style system. It’s expected to save $690 million over 38 years.

(TM and© Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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