Politics & Policy

Tom Corbett Gets Serious About the Pa. Budget

GOP gubernatorial aspirant Tom Corbett was in State College yesterday, speaking to the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, which is holding its annual meeting at the Penn Stater Conference Center.

“We can’t afford a governor who talks tough but whose records shows they avoid making difficult decision and puts them off for another day, or worse, for another election,” he said, in an apparent criticism of his Democratic opponent, Dan Onorato.

Corbett said the past two state budgets were passed “with smoke and mirrors.” The state is facing a budget shortfall because it will be getting $250 million less in federal Medicaid funding than had been banked on. And, Corbett said, a pension crisis is around the corner.

Pennsylvania will face budget shortfalls to the tune of several billion next year. Corbett is on point in identifying this as the central issue of the Governor’s race.

If elected, Corbett will play a major role in what will become a national fiscal crisis, one in which states default on their obligations. Kevin Williamson has written on The Corner about the “real” national debt — $130 trillion. This includes the type of state and local government liabilities that Corbett asserts need to be fixed without “smoke and mirrors.”

Whomever Pennsylvanians put in the Governor’s mansion will face the kinds of fiscal challenges that Gov. Chris Christie has been handling so ably in the Garden State. For better or worse, Pennsylvania will be in the national spotlight.

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