Earlier today, Pennlive reported that Pennsylvania’s credit rating by Moody’s was downgraded to “stable.” Using the downgrade as fodder to pension reform talking points, Governor Corbett, unsurprisingly, placed the blame on the state’s made up pension crisis. In a press release, Governor Corbett said that “it’s clear that this [made up] pension crisis has put a strain on Pennsylvania’s finances,” and “as families struggle with skyrocketing property taxes, pension costs are consuming more than 60 cents of every new dollar of state general fund revenues. Doing nothing is an option and diong nothing fails our families.”
A couple of points.
This pension crisis is a made up crisis by the Corbett’s administration. It’s designed to start a “we, private secotr hoseholds have a 401k, so can’t ‘they’ those school teachers get with the program.” Two rising pension costs have nothing to do with increasing property taxes. Property taxes are going up because Governor Corbett and Republicans failed to fund public education. Lastly, Governor Corbett’s pension reform hard-on won’t fix anything for 25-30 years when “the new retirees” those affected by Corbett’s plan would retire. Pennsylvania has neglected to pay it’s end the share and that’s why there is a $50 billion unfunded liability. As Fresh Start points out, Governor Corbett isn’t serious about adressing the 500 pound elephant in the room. Here’s some recent Corbett quotes adressing just that.
WITF: “The governor has begun to acknowledge that the proposal in question would not generate short-term savings for the state or school districts, both of which are buckling under rising pension costs….Corbett is no longer pushing any particular proposal to reduce the current debt, which is the immediate source of rising pension costs for the state and school districts.” [7/18/14]
AP: “Corbett acknowledged that the bill he supports means no immediate savings.” [7/14/14]
WESA: “Corbett said the plan is not a ‘silver bullet’ and that change won’t happen right away, but that ‘in the art of politics and compromise, you have to go with the one that can get the most votes.'” [7/14/14]
Capitolwire: “So when Corbett’s critics argue he’s being disingenuous with his claims that pension reform is necessary to head off pension cost-caused property tax hikes, they’re right. Even Corbett, when pressed, agrees pension reforms for new employees won’t produce immediate relief, but his press releases and public proclamations don’t make such acknowledgements.” [7/21/14]