The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 7, 2013

Corbett's agenda creeps ahead but questions remain

MARC LEVY and PETER JACKSON
Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania state lawmakers are signaling they'll move forward with two of Gov. Tom Corbett's priorities, although serious questions remain about both.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved a $2.5 billion transportation bill Tuesday. Also Tuesday, key Senate and House Republicans plan to appear with Corbett to announce they'll introduce legislation with his proposed changes to the state's public employee pension systems.

The committee's vote was 13-1. However, the Senate's transportation bill is larger than what Corbett initially sought, and House Republican leaders are cool to its gas tax increase. And Corbett's proposed pension changes are meeting stiff resistance from lawmakers.

Meanwhile, lagging tax collections mean Corbett's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year is unbalanced by hundreds of millions of dollars. That's endangering the $360 million business tax cut he wants.