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Corbett budget would shift, not deplete, tobacco fund

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks

Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal includes a number of one-time revenue sources, but the plan for a special fund — that you might never have heard of — isn’t such a departure from Pennsylvania budgets of the past.

Corbett wants to transfer $225 million in cash and investments from the Tobacco Settlement Fund and give it to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS).

Democrats criticized transferring its funds elsewhere as a budget gimmick, but the Tobacco Settlement Fund has been an irresistible source of in-a-pinch revenue in past years. Budget documents show the 2009 state spending plan, passed under former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, included $150 million from the fund to balance the books. In 2010, another Rendell budget used $250 million from the fund for the state’s main budget, and $121 million went to offset the state’s payment to PSERS.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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