The House and Senate are due back in session on June 3rd. From there only 15-or so session days separate lawmakers form the state budget deadline. But Governor Tom Corbett views every day as a working day, and there are plenty of policy issues he’d like to see addressed alongside a third consecutive on-time budget.
“We need to focus on [liquor privatization], we need to focus on pensions, we need to focus on transportation, we need to focus on the budget,” Corbett said on the May edition of Ask the Governor. “There has been work done behind the scenes. I believe we can get this done.”
Most capitol observers, however, would classify passage of two of the three big policy issues as a major victory for the Corbett administration.
Senate Republican Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) identifies transportation as the issue most likely to be completed before lawmakers’ summer break. “We have very, very strong bipartisan interest in transportation infrastructure funding,” he says. “I think that can certainly be done.”
Trailing the pack of policy issues, Pileggi says, is pension reform. “We have not even seen committee action on that plan to date and the bills have just been introduced… that is an incredibly complex and technically difficult task.”
Following this week’s hearing on liquor privatization, Senate Law & Justice Committee Chairman Charles McIlhinney (R-Bucks) made it clear that he won’t start drafting a bill until after all three public hearings have been completed. He does not view it as an issue that must be finalized this budget season. The House version of a privatization bill (HB 790) is viewed as a non-starter in the Senate.