Corbett Administration pension report sets up false choices, doesn’t solve problem
PSEA President Mike Crossey reacted to the Keystone Pension Report, released Monday, Nov. 26 by Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget secretary, Charles Zogby. Crossey noted that the report stated what PSEA has said all along – that the hardworking public employees of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania’s taxpayers did not create the pension problem.
Crossey emphasized that teachers, nurses, and other public employees across the Commonwealth already pay for a significant portion of their modest pensions, and have always made their contributions on time. The pension shortfall in Pennsylvania was caused by politicians who failed to make their appropriate contributions to the pension system.
Also see: PSEA's Critique of the Corbett Administration's Keystone Pension Report (PDF)
Crossey also emphasized that the report’s vague suggestions to change the future retirement benefits of current workers are unconstitutional, unethical, and won’t solve the problem since it would not address the pension debt.
“To blame Pennsylvania’s budget problems on debts employers owe to the pension systems is to make a scapegoat of working people who have contributed to their pensions – year in and year out,” Crossey said. “It was employers that paid nearly nothing into the pension systems for a decade.
“And in reality,” Crossey stated, “it is Gov. Corbett’s prior budgetary decisions that are the true cause of Pennsylvania’s budget problem. Gov. Corbett made a conscious policy decision to provide more than $800 million in corporate tax breaks, including the capital stock and franchise tax and bonus depreciation credit, which cost the state $760 million – more than the projected pension debt owed in FY 2013-14.
“Just two years ago, public employees helped pass Act 120 to pay down the debt employers owe the pension systems,” Crossey said. “Now, the governor wants to walk away from it and break a promise of retirement security for teachers, nurses, librarians, and public safety workers – in order to honor a no-tax pledge to Grover Norquist.
“Tampering with the retirement security of public workers – the same employees who paid twice as much as employers in the past decade and who supported a law that saves the Commonwealth $33 billion in benefits changes – won’t erase the debt the Commonwealth owes the pension systems.”