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Sen. Costa Talks Pennsylvania Budget

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) - Pennsylvania State Sen. Jay Costa, a Democrat, believes he has a better plan to bring money to the Commonwealth that surpasses Gov. Tom Corbett's employee pension cuts.

He says he feels very strongly that the Marcellus Shale severance tax can bring in more than $70 million.

Sen. Costa says that if we begin to enact an extraction tax above an impact fee, we will be able to fix and rectify the original plan. Portions of the money would be divided between education fees and environmental fees.

As for the pension reform proposed by the governor, Sen. Costa says he believes that will have no impact on fixing the fiscal crisis, proving to be of no benefit for the Commonwealth. He says there are numerous other ways that would be a better idea.

Senator Jay Costa

The Senate has a plan that will shave off hundreds-of-thousands of dollars using things like restricted limited borrowing to provide an immediate revenue for schools and the Commonwealth. Overall, Sen. Costa stands by Act 120, stating that this can be the solution.

"I think it demonstrates the point, Mike, that there's no consensus around the way in which we gotta get something done," said Sen. Costa. "There are a lot of folks throughout the Commonwealth who have a difference of opinion with respect to what's the best way to get something done and they're Democrats and they're Republicans. If everyone was on the same page, that one silver bullet would have been passed a long time ago, but there's not. And it's a complicated issue that goes more than just the governor's plan being the right way to get things done."

In 2010, Sen. Costa says a bipartisan group met and made significant changes to the pension plans and to this day they are still considered across the state and the country to be the most beneficial and restrictive changes. He says no one else has done what they've done.

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