Welcome to Tom Corbett’s Pennsylvania! The state where people who don’t cause the problem are nonetheless punished.
If you are a public employee in Pennsylvania, you had better listen to the pension reform proposal released today because you will be bailing out the people who didn’t pay their fair share over the last decade. You know that little retirement contribution that they take out of our checks on a biweekly basis? Well, to my knowledge they never gave me a vacation from paying that in the last 23 years that I have been in education. Seven point five percent every check. Bet most of you didn’t know that there were years that the state and the school districts didn’t pay anything. In the years from 2001 to 2010 the school districts and the state combined to contribute an average of 4% while teachers were paying themselves and average of 7 percent. The handshake with state employees required that all three parties pay equal shares. So what happened? Someone didn’t understand that you can’t beat the stock market forever. They should have bought Nate Silver’s book.
Now, the pension system is over 40 billion dollars underfunded. So Mr. Corbett’s plan is to put that on the backs of the people who were paying their fair share all along. You can keep your 2.5 multiplier if you pay more or you can pay the same and work seven and half more years to get the same benefit. And of course, the employers’ (state and district) contribution won’t change fast enough to make up the difference. With a cap of 2.25% increase per year, it is still less in one year than it will cost state employees.
There are some other gems in there too as we again cut into the people who serve our state, the Corbett administration plans to cut corporate income taxes as well as raise the cap on the amount of loss a corporation may claim in a year.
My guess is that this is another cog in the Administration’s machine that will eventually privatize education in Pennsylvania. In my graduate class we have failed to mention yet when educators and state employees became the dregs of the earth.