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Unhappy Corbett signs budget, calls lawmakers back to focus on pension reform

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Tom Corbett
Tom Corbett

Gov. Tom Corbett said this morning that he signed the $29.1 billion state budget passed by lawmakers, but he isn't happy about it.

The governor line-item vetoed $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative-designated spending. Lawmakers passed a $29.1 billion budget and other related legislation.

Corbett wants structural changes to the state's large public-sector pension plans, but lawmakers haven't gone along. The governor had strong words for lawmakers and demanded they return to Harrisburg "and enact meaningful pension reform." Corbett said he is reviewing four options.

"It's time to stop talking around the edges" of the pension problem, the governor said.

If the pension system were reformed, the savings would go to education, people with disabilities and business recruitment, he added.

The state spends more than 60 cents of every dollar on pension costs, a burden that prevents the state from addressing other priorities, Corbett said.

The governor supports moving to a 401(K)-style plan for state retirees. He said this morning that reform can be achieved, while protecting benefits for current and future retirees.

Otherwise, Corbett, up for re-election in November, issued what sounded like a campaign speech. He touted economic successes -- "unemployment is at a five-year low" -- while noting it came without raising taxes.

"I said I would clean up wasteful spending and I did," he said. "Our strategy is working."

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