Will Harrisburg Ever Fix Pension Crisis?
The rate of "success" Harrisburg is having with the budget, coupled with the incompetence of our legislators who work for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania raises the possibility that the pension crisis will never be fixed.
Commenting about the pensions, House Majority Leader David Reed said, "I’m not sure where we go from here," after a failed veto override attempt!
According to one newspaper article, House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny County believes a piecemeal override of a vetoed bill is unconstitutional.
In that same article we find telling quotes from other officials:
"While the governor is looking at their proposal, they (House leaders) are playing games," said Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan.
"Accepting the GOP’s latest offer would be a home run for both sides," said Senate Majority Whip John Gordner, R-Berwick.
Does he mean the political parties or the taxpayers?
In 2006, Auditor General Jack Wagner compiled an in-depth audit on the PSERS and the SERS, He noted that the pension crisis was created by the legislators’ actions in 2001 where they increased the pension benefits of all state workers and teachers. We’re coming up on 15 years since, and although several attempts have been made to patch the problem, the root cause has never been addressed.
Jack Wagner gave recommendations and predicted a fiscal crisis in 2012 or 2013 if corrective measures were not taken. The legislature did not heed his warning and today Pennsylvania finds itself with massive unfunded liabilities.
Since 2001 our legislators have increased the Pennsylvania General Fund by 100% and our School Taxes have gone up 116%. Also, taxpayers have received from Harrisburg several blessings:
We are the 5th most corrupt state;
5th highest state in foreclosures;
1st in gas and corporate taxes;
Thanks to the lack of legislative oversight, the PSERS lost $15.8 billion since 06/2007, and the SERS lost $8.3 billion.
Yes, Harrisburg has become one of the largest casinos in the country, gambling with the taxpayers’ money and obviously losing, because they always need more.
Finally, the taxpayers have two legislators standing up for them. They have proposed bills to fix this financial disaster and stop some of the theft of the taxpayer’s money. Republican John McGinnis who has a Ph.D. in Finance, and Democrat Thomas Caltagirone have proposed three pieces of legislation between them with one being jointly introduced.
On March 26, 2015, Tom Caltagirone introduced HB 845 on a Public Pensions Code of Ethics. Since March, only eight cosponsors have signed onto the legislation. The bill was referred to Committee on State Government. That’s where it sits, thanks to weak leadership.
On July 9, 2015, John McGinnis, and Caltagirone introduced HB 1400 to improve the management standards for SERS and PSERS. The bill has fifteen cosponsors and was referred to Committee on State Government, where it languishes.
On May 17, 2015, John McGinnis Proposed HB 900, Subject: Repayment of Pension Debt; received 21 cosponsors, was referred to Committee on State Government.
So what can a taxpayer, living in the 5th most corrupt state in America, do?
The first step is getting involved, finding the truth and confronting the legislators about the issues that matter to you. The taxpayers are in luck. Representatives Tom Caltagirone and John McGinnis will be presenting to the Lehigh Valley Project 9-12 Tea Party Group on October 2, 2015, from 7:00-9:00 P.M., at the Charles Chrin Community Center in Easton.
Their presentation will
be an excellent opportunity to learn about Pennsylvania’s pension issues and what lawmakers must do to fix the problems.
Mr. Shuker is a financial consultant who became politically active in response to protecting his clients’ financial well-being from legislation that threatens their security.
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