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.