Corbett meets the press in Harrisburg - abc27 WHTM

Corbett meets the press in Harrisburg

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Governor Tom Corbett will never be considered a press-friendly governor. Reporters frequently grumble at their lack of access to Pennsylvania's chief executive.

But on Monday, at a packed conference room in the Harrisburg Hilton, he took on all questions as the featured speaker at the Pennsylvania Press Club's monthly luncheon.

And the first question was no softball. Corbett was asked if he's considering a change to his political team in the wake of an election in which all of the candidates he endorsed - including Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed for Attorney General - got trounced.

"I believe I have a very good team," Corbett said. "Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to work out. I have to live with that, and when I decide to make any adjustments, I'll let you know."

Pennsylvania's roads and bridges are crumbling. Will the governor introduce a plan early next year to fix them?

Corbett was cagey in his response, "short answer, yes." When asked if he'd care to share any specifics he replied simply, "no." 

But Corbett's press secretary, after the luncheon, did give a few hints about where the administration might look to find money for those roads and bridges. Kevin Harley said current taxes on fuel are not sufficient.

"Even though more people are driving today, cars are more fuel efficient, which is a good thing. But unfortunately that means revenue isn't keeping up with the demand," Harley said.

When reporters pressed, Harley said stay tuned until the actual plan is released in 2013.

He was not as vague about the problems of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and its $7.8 billion debt. He pointed fingers and named names.

"That was something created by Ed Rendell and the prior legislature," Harley said. "It's a disaster. It's a crisis and we're gonna have to deal with it."

Corbett said he'll continue to push for privatizing the liquor stores, despite questionable support in the Senate. He called it as important a priority as pension funding and roads and bridges.

He's also pursuing the privatization of the Lottery, but only if it generates as much money as the current system to support senior citizens.

"The effort really is to see if the private sector can do a better job than we have been doing," Corbett said. "If we give it to them there's a minimum they have to bring in."

Corbett said he and other governors were briefed last weekend on the pending fiscal cliff in Washington, D.C. and its consequences for states like Pennsylvania. He said its a scary scene.

"The tax increases on the people of the United States that will be caused if they don't resolve the fiscal cliff issue are overwhelming. I fear for the economy and I fear for another recession," he said.

After 15 minutes of what may have felt to him like root canal, Corbett got a softball question to end it.

"Who will finish with a worse record, the Eagles or the Steelers?"

Corbett answered, "Unfortunately, Pennsylvania."

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