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Oversight board caught in jaws of Corbett's veto

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Projects suspended

Among line items whose money Gov. Tom Corbett froze:

• $250,000 for violence prevention program in Pittsburgh;

• $450,000 for “blueprint mentoring” in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and a third-class city;

• $150,000 for a nautical science center in Allegheny County;

• $200,000 for an Allegheny County program promoting cystic fibrosis research;

• $250,000 to purchase transportation assistance for job retention/training/search activities for Allegheny County residents;

• $150,000 to prevent and treat depression in Allegheny County's senior citizens;

• $240,000 to a higher educational institution that provides autism education and diagnostic curriculum in Allegheny County;

• $100,000 to a nonprofit organization in Allegheny County that provides emergency disaster services to a multi-county region;

• $150,000 for “independent” research of natural gas drilling.

Source: Tribune-Review

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Thursday, July 10, 2014, 10:57 p.m.

HARRISBURG — One casualty of Gov. Tom Corbett's veto pen is Pittsburgh's Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which will lose $300,000 the state Legislature had designated for the oversight board.

Corbett struck that money and other line items from the budget on Thursday.

“Based on conversations with the ICA, the administration does not believe this increased funding is necessary,” the governor's office said in a statement.

Corbett vetoed the money for the ICA in the budget bill and, because it was referenced in the fiscal code, it is out of both bills, his press secretary Jay Pagni said.

ICA Executive Director Henry Sciortino and the board's chairman, Nick Varischetti, could not be reached for comment.

The ICA had asked to increase its $228,000 allocation to $550,000 for fiscal year 2014-15 — something Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, had said was appropriate to enhance its work.

Sciortino told the Tribune-Review last month that the authority wanted more money to pay for consultants or conduct studies.

In addition to the budget, Corbett signed a related fiscal code that instructs how money is spent, but struck some items. The bill had included about $20 million for projects, most of which were not easily identifiable because of vague language.

Budget Director Charles Zogby said the fiscal code was “pockmarked with earmarks” that the Senate added. Zogby said those grants have been placed in budgetary reserve — meaning use of the money, in effect, is frozen until the governor releases it.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or

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