Castor reacts ahead of budget speech

Published by Laura Olson on .

Montgomery County commissioner Bruce Castor — who said recently he's "up to the ankles" in exploring the waters for a primary challenge to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett — has released a list of what he'll be listening for in Corbett's budget address tomorrow.

Two of the items on his list, pension reform and privatizing liquor sales, are guaranteed to be mentioned by the third-year governor in that speech.

(For more on what's expected from tomorrow's budget festivities, here's my preview from Sunday's newspaper.)

But other bullet points — including slashing personal and corporate tax rates, passing so-called "right-to-work" legislation on union participation, repealing prevailing wage, "ending corporate welfare," eliminating property taxes, enacting legislative term limits and ending per diems — are less likely to get a starring role in Corbett's remarks.

Castor also is urging Corbett to have Pennsylvania opt out of the federal health care law's provisions for expanding Medicaid eligibility.

The governor and his administration have expressed concerns about the potential cost of that expansion (which federal dollars would subsidize), but they have not ruled it out.

"These priorities, so warmly embraced by practical, commonsense conservatives, can be achieved with vigorous leadership from our governor," Castor said in a statement.

"I am confident that Gov. Corbett, using the same skills and energy he employed in choosing our candidates for 2012, will gain these legislative victories this spring, energizing Pennsylvanians and paving the way to the revitalization of our Commonwealth."

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