A call to Action
“I ask you to work together in the coming months to find a solution. We must fix this. Billions in new debt to our state is the cost of doing nothing. The only question is whether we will do it now, when it’s still a manageable problem, or others will have to do it later, when it’s an all-out crisis.” –Governor Corbett
The pension challenge continues to be a key topic of discussion in nearly every corner of the commonwealth. It is a question on the minds of many, and increasingly on the minds of Pennsylvania taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost of the system through their tax dollars. All of these stakeholders, while representing diverse interests, recognize the budget crisis facing Pennsylvania – that the commonwealth’s growing pension obligations are crowding out funding for core governmental programs.
The fiscal reality is that absent meaningful structural pension reform, the state’s budget is on a path that will force a choice between either fully funding pension obligations or making cuts to the core functions of government on which our citizens rely.
Just as it impacts at the state level, this same dynamic plays out in nearly every school district across the commonwealth. Increasing pension contribution obligations claim a greater share of school district budgets, crowding out funding for education, whether it is direct classroom instruction, extra-curricular activities, facilities and maintenance, and ultimately will put pressure on districts to increase property taxes.
Failure to enact meaningful reform also impacts the commonwealth’s ability to attract and keep job-creating businesses within its borders and will negatively affect the credit rating of the commonwealth, costing taxpayers more money in increased interest rates for bond issuances.