With all his priorities dashed, and no nice things to take on the road this fall to show the voters, it looks like Tom Corbett may have decided his best chance of hanging on to his office is to break off from the Republican pack and run against “Harrisburg.”
The latest evidence is his public indecision over whether to sign or veto the Republican budget, or let it take effect without his signature – a move that has his fellow Republicans flailing:
A week after its passage by the legislature, Gov. Corbett has yet to sign the $29.1 billion general appropriations bill for 2014-2015. Nor has the General Assembly finalized the a key budget-related bill – the fiscal code – that authorizes spending for schools and hundreds of other items.
Corbett has until Friday to sign or veto all or part of the budget. Without his signature it takes effect immediately.
“The governor is reviewing his options,” said Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni.
The governor’s inaction is causing friction even with his GOP allies in the legislature.
“We think the governor needs to sign the budget and move forward,” House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said Monday in an impromptu session with reporters. “This is a responsible budget for the needs of the citizens of Pennsylvania, while also protecting taxpayers.”
The basic shape of the politics is that this budget is another nasty all-cuts budget, it does nothing to restore cuts to basic education despite a lot of big talk about that earlier in the year, and Corbett doesn’t want this to be seen as his latest accomplishment. The tea people think that spending cuts are popular, but they’re not.
Members of his party still had to vote for this beast though, so naturally they want Corbett to embrace it and echo all the stuff Turzai is saying, so that the Republicans at least look united after the budget got a party-line No vote from House and Senate Democrats.
The bright light of accountability that the party-line vote is shining on the Republicans puts them in a fantastically uncomfortable position, as they now own everything in there, as a party. But Corbett seems to be thinking about publicly distancing himself from the product, leaving legislative Republicans to take all the blame at the polls.