Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has renewed calls for pension reform as state lawmakers consider how to close a budget gap with just two weeks until the start of the new fiscal year.
The state is facing a shortfall of at least $1.5 billion for Corbett’s proposed $29.4 billion budget for fiscal 2015, according to some estimates. Pennsylvania has about $50 billion of unfunded long-term pension liabilities.
“We need you to act and we need you to act now,” Corbett said during a televised news conference on Tuesday.
Last year, Corbett introduced a bill that would have scaled back increases in pension contributions from the state and Pennsylvania’s school districts. The Republican governor estimated that could have saved $175 million in fiscal 2014 and helped ease budget pressures.
But that would also have widened the gap. To offset those reduced contributions, his previous plan would have cut future benefits for current employees – something likely to be challenged in court – and moved new hires to a 401(k)-style plan.
Weird how all of the states suffering this way are big union states, huh?
Of course it will be challenged in court, Big Labor bleeds its members and (in the case of public unions) the taxpayers dry and can afford to fire an unending supply of legal salvos.
The problem is really the unions themselves, and that is what is going to have to be fought out in court one day in the states that aren’t bright enough to go the Scott Walker route and fix things.