Yesterday, in a surprising move, Governor Corbett sought a new avenue to secure support for pension reform, Philadelphia Democrats.
In a press conference held in his office, Gov. Corbett offered Philly legislators a cigarette tax that would provide much-needed funds for the city’s schools. In exchange, those lawmakers would support the Governor’s efforts to reform the state’s pensions plan.
Democrats, who don’t currently control any branch of government and may be stalling for what they hope will be a Wolf Administration next year, were not interested.
“We just want to collectively say the governor should be ashamed of himself for tying the future of the children in the school district in Philadelphia to issues that have no relationship to their future, to their success, to their survival,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, criticizing Corbett who never “stepped a foot” in a Philadelphia school during his first term.
Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed their own budget plan last night on a 16-10 party line vote.
This proposal comes to $29.1 billion and relies on one-time budget items instead of tax increases. It also doesn’t include Gov. Corbett’s priorities of liquor privatization or pension reform.
It is expected to be taken up by the full Senate and House today in time for it to hit Governor Corbett’s desk tonight for his signature.
We’ll keep you updated as the day progresses.