Gov. Tom Corbett signed an executive order today creating a statewide commission aimed at making sure that Pennsylvania is treated fairly in the event of a new round of federal military base closures.
Corbett said the new bipartisan panel’s mission is to monitor activity that could affect Pennsylvania’s installations, and to ensure the state’s leaders can make their best case as base closures or mission consolidations arise.
Some people consider that nearly inevitable as federal officials seek to wrestle with chronic budget deficits.
“These bases represent jobs. They represent incomes. And they are in many locations … the very identities of towns and counties in this state,” Corbett said.
If cuts come, the governor said, he wants the commission to develop arguments that allow the state’s elected officials to argue from a position of strength based both on the effectiveness of the in-state bases’ operations and their proximity to Washington D.C. and major transportation arteries.
“We understand that we need to make rational decisions in light of the changing economy and efficiencies,” said Corbett, no stranger to budget cutting in his own administration.
“But there’s a whole nation that we have to take a look at,” he added. “We want to protect the interests of Pennsylvania as much as we can to make it a level playing field with the other states.”
The panel will be headed by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, Corbett said.