June 10, 2013
By Jennifer Stefano Most Pennsylvania families wouldn't dream of ignoring their financial obligations and spending money they don't have, passing on their bills to others. So why do the representatives of those families think they can get away with that type of behavior? In 2001, the General Assembly approved enhanced retirement benefits for themselves and state workers, expecting taxpayers to pick up the tab at the expense of their own retirements and households. Making the situation worse, in the years since, the state has not been contributing its fair share to the pension funds.
June 29, 2010 |
The Pennsylvania House's approach to pension reform is, to paraphrase Lincoln, government of the unions, by the unions, and for the unions. Unsurprisingly, legislators also put in a little something for themselves. House Bill 2497 is being touted as a reform of the bloated pension system currently enjoyed by state workers, public school teachers, and (even more so) elected officials. Of course, if you are an average Pennsylvania taxpayer, you might think of it as the pension system from hell.
April 24, 2014 |
WASHINGTON Gov. Christie continued Tuesday to make his pitch for pension reform and renewal of a cap on raises for public workers, sounding alarms about the state's economic future in a speech at a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner. Addressing business leaders, lawmakers, and lobbyists at the chamber's annual "Walk to Washington" event, Christie said the state was doing better than it was four years ago. But that progress will be derailed, the Republican governor said, if the Democrats who control the Legislature do not agree to make further changes to the state's pension system and continue a 2 percent cap on raises for police and firefighters.
March 15, 2012 |
AN ADVOCACY GROUP campaigning nationally for public pension reform visited Philadelphia on Thursday promising to "expose" the city's top pension recipients - including one retiree with a $4.5 million estimated lifetime payout. But what the group really exposed was its own fuzzy math. The Chicago-based Taxpayers United of America released a list of local pension recipients, topped by former Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, who it said would get an "estimated lifetime pension" of $4.5 million.
January 29, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - With only a week until he delivers his budget proposal, Gov. Corbett is making it increasingly clear that his administration is willing to play hardball to get the legislature to confront the escalating cost of public employee pensions. And likely to be caught in the middle of the fracas: aid to public schools. Speaking Monday at a monthly press club luncheon, Corbett budget secretary Charles Zogby reiterated - albeit more forcefully than before - that unless legislators tackle the rising cost of Pennsylvania's two major pension funds, there will be deep cuts in the next state budget, and very possibly in education funding.
February 5, 2013
By Richard C. Dreyfuss As Gov. Corbett's fiscal year 2013-14 state budget proposal is finalized, the familiar challenge of balancing finite resources against ever-increasing spending requests begins. This year, expect debates over special initiatives ranging from liquor privatization to transportation funding. But there is one recurring and unresolved challenge that only seems to become worse with each passing year - public pensions costs, specifically those of two statewide plans, the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS)
January 31, 2013
THE PENDING FIGHT over pensions for Pennsylvania state workers and public-school employees is certain to include enough actuarial data and ideology to make most minds, including mine, go numb. We're talking billions of obligated tax dollars to hundreds of thousands of people, lots of politics, Rubik's Cube-like fiscal stuff, some of which will wind up in court, making more paydays for lawyers. It is, in short, a cluster-shag. At the heart of the issue is a divide separating (most)
March 11, 2013
Josh Shapiro is the Montgomery County commissioners chairman and serves as chairman of the county's pension board When trying to pare budgets and be more efficient, go where the money is. That's why Montgomery County, the commonwealth's third most populous county, closely examined the costs associated with our $450 million public employee pension fund. Public pensions are an area of significant potential savings, and of particular importance to state and local governments around the country.
February 28, 2014 |
STIRLING. N.J. On the heels of his budget address, Gov. Christie on Wednesday pushed the need for pension changes to a receptive town-hall meeting audience in predominantly Republican Morris County, pledging to take "extreme measures" if Democrats do not heed his call to cooperate. Describing himself as "the adult in the room," in contrast with legislative Democrats, who said after his speech Tuesday that the state's rising pension costs did not demand changes, Christie told about 500 people at the Long Hill Community Center that New Jersey could wind up like bankrupt Detroit if something is not done.
September 16, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - It's do-or-die for a new cigarette tax to help Philadelphia schools, as well as scores of other bills, when the state legislature returns from its summer break Monday. The fall legislative agenda is packed with bills touching on everything from public employee pensions to public records. Not only will it play out against the backdrop of a contentious election season, but it will also contend with a time crunch: Any bills that don't get approved this year will effectively die and have to be reintroduced come January, when a new two-year session begins.