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Three Pa. state lawmakers speak at Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast

February 21, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, addresses a Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce crowd Thursday morning. Seated from left are state Sen. Richard Alloway, Jim Frank from U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster's office and state Sen. John Eichelberger.
By Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Three Pennsylvania lawmakers stopped by a Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday to talk about Harrisburg’s ambitious political agenda that could have far-reaching and long-term effects.

Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly this spring are debating the merits of the governor’s plans to improve revenues. For 2013-14, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed a $28.4 billion budget, which represents 3 percent in new spending.

“The budget is going to be a challenge again this year. The economy isn’t great,” state Sen. Richard Alloway told the breakfast crowd at Whitetail Resort.

Three “thorny” problems associated with the budget are the governor’s plans to privatize the state lottery and liquor stores, and reform the state pension system, according to Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York.

Likening the way the pension system is set up for state workers and school employees to a Ponzi scheme, state Rep. Todd Rock said it is now a $40 billion unfunded liability.

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“When the money isn’t there, you have to adapt and make changes,” said Rock, R-Franklin.

State Sen. John Eichelberger is a Republican who represents Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Huntingdon counties as well as a portion of Mifflin County. He serves on the senate’s finance committee and told the crowd about plans for a British company to operate the state lottery system.

The company has proposed putting $200 million in an escrow account to back up its guarantee that it will consistently increase proceeds during its 20-year contract, Eichelberger said.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the contract, so the governor must decide if he wants to fight that in court, he said.

Alloway touted Senate Bill 283, which would convert lawmakers from the current defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan in the pension system.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do,” he said.

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