Budget stalemate continues at Pa. Capitol - abc27 WHTM

Budget stalemate continues at Pa. Capitol

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A frustrated Governor Tom Corbett, upset that lawmakers didn't tackle pension reform, refused to sign an all-Republican budget ahead of Monday's midnight deadline.

He pleaded for pension reform from lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the state House discussed the Tobash plan, a hybrid plan that would shift future hires into a combination defined benefit/defined contribution plan.

The governor gave that plan his blessing and it was thought the House would discuss and vote it Tuesday. Instead, it was banished to a committee chaired by a lawmaker who doesn't support it.

"Pension reform is dead, for now," said a high-ranking House GOP staffer.

Representative Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) helped to kill it.

"I'm prepared to stay all summer to work on pensions, but this bill that's before us today is not the answer," Grell said.

Grell has his own pension reform plan that he now hopes will gain traction. He calls pension a crisis that demands attention.

"The problem's not going to go away, so we have to keep working on it until we wrestle down this $50 billion debt," he said.

But the current wrestling match is between the GOP-controlled legislature and the GOP governor to get the state out of budget limbo.

"At this point, we're going to continue our discussions, continue our review and continue talking to the legislature," Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni said.

Rank-and-file Republicans say they were surprised by Corbett's refusal to sign their $29.1 billion, no-new-taxes, on-time budget. They are now confused about the next steps.

"If you can figure out where the House, the Senate and the governor are, you gotta let me know," chuckled Representative John Payne (R-Dauphin). "We haven't figured it out either."

No Democrat supported the budget, but they're blasting the governor for not signing it.

"I think he wanted his way," Representative Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) said. "When he didn't sign last night, he was signaling 'I didn't get my way' and he's quite dug in. That, to me, shows such a failure of cooperation and collaboration."

Conservatives are also disappointed at the failure of cooperation and collaboration among Republicans. Why, they wonder, can't the GOP do Republican things with complete control of the process? GOP lawmakers may be on the same team, but they're clearly not on the same page.

"This building is full of a lot of different personalities and different districts," Representative Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) said.

"The folks that I represent are very different from people in the southeast or the southwest, so we do have to make sure all 67 counties are represented, and sometimes that's a tough nut to crack."

So now lawmakers wait to see if Corbett cracks. If he lets the budget sit, it becomes law. He could veto all or part of it.

It is now up to him, but the Senate left town Tuesday and the House is scheduled to follow Wednesday.

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