I got up this morning and just wanted to relax, read the paper and drink a couple cups of coffee. Then I open up my local paper and read the story below. By the time I was done the story, I thought my head was going to explode as I was cursing politicians across the land. When is this country going to wake up and realize this two party system of government is a joke? It is nothing but a game to distract the masses as both parties jointly screw the citizen taxpayers of this country.
This story proves my point. Just read the first couple sentences and you realize this country is doomed to economic collapse. The public school pension obligation in my state of PA went up 100% in the past year and will go up another 50% this year. That is mind blowing, but no one cares or even understands the implications. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
Well the bastion of GOP conservatism, friend of George W, and the first generalisimo of DHS, Tom “Code Orange” Ridge signed a law in 2001 that guaranteed 50% pension increases for most legislators and 25% increases for more than 300,000 state workers and teachers. He didn’t give a fuck about the future. He was moving on to bigger and better things creating a new agency to strip Americans of their freedom and liberty. This REPUBLICAN dirtbag sentenced the taxpayers of PA to funding massive future deficits to pay union government workers’ outlandish gold plated pensions.
The next governor of PA was the ultra-liberal slimeball from Philly, Fast Eddie Rendell. You certainly couldn’t expect this tax and spend DEMOCRAT to ever cut anything. Just before he left office he signed another law that used the old tried and true method of not funding the pension obligation with cash until after 2030. Just extend and pretend. The American way.
Well, here is some news for the 300,000 government drones. You will not get those gold plated pensions. Promises do not equal cash. The money is not there. It won’t be there when you retire. The taxpayers will not be ponying up to fund your retirement. You’re as screwed as we the taxpayers are screwed.
The politicians of both parties are responsible. They are liars, thieves and traitors. It will get nasty when the clueless masses finally get a clue. The money is all gone.
Pension costs a big worry for Pa. public schools
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A spike in pension obligations could hardly come at a worse time for Pennsylvania’s public schools.
Gov. Tom Corbett, who has pledged to oppose any tax increase, will be proposing his second state budget on Feb. 7, and public school officials are worried about getting more bad news after working through the most difficult budget year in just about anyone’s memory.
The Corbett administration is projecting that its school employee pension obligations will rise by $320 million next year — or more than 50 percent — after more than doubling in this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, public schools are suffering through cuts of more than 10 percent to state aid. The cuts, approved by the Legislature and Corbett, fell most heavily on Pennsylvania’s poorest school districts, which officials argued get the most state aid.
It seems that no one in the public school community expects Corbett to propose more money for public schools next year, and he may even seek another round of cuts in light of his administration’s projection of a year-end deficit and rising costs in other parts of the budget, such as Medicaid and debt service.
Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said Corbett administration officials have told him that they didn’t plan to cut public school aid again.
“But the question is, what are they counting?” he said.
If Corbett counts pension dollars as part of the state aid that helps keep the lights on and teachers in classrooms, then “there could be some significant cuts in major funding areas, although the overall funding may not be going down,” Gentzel said.
Corbett’s top budget adviser, Charles Zogby, declined to comment.
Rising pension obligations are being driven, in part, by lackluster investment performance on the money being paid into the system and a 2001 law under then-Gov. Tom Ridge that guaranteed 50 percent pension increases for most legislators and 25 percent increases for more than 300,000 state workers and teachers.
There’s not a whole lot that can be done about it.
The state constitution bars curtailing pension benefits for current or retired state employees and teachers. Meanwhile, a 14-month-old state law signed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell is designed to blunt the severity of the pension cost spike by deferring some payments past 2030.
That means that pension obligations shared by the state and school districts will jump to 12.4 percent next year, rather than 29.7 percent — a difference of about $2 billion, according to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.
This year it is 8.7 percent, which still comes as something of a shock to school budgets after paying under 5 percent for much of the last decade and as little as 1.2 percent one year. School employees pay above 7 percent of salary, and have done so for much of the past decade.
This year, school districts are absorbing the rising cost of pensions while weathering sluggish tax collections and the loss of about $850 million in state aid for instruction and operations. To balance budgets, districts are laying off staff, freezing wages, closing buildings, renegotiating contracts, tapping reserves and using textbooks and computers longer.
In the Brookville Area School District in northwestern Pennsylvania, district officials are projecting a $400,000 increase in pension costs next year — or almost 2 percent of this year’s anticipated revenue from tax collections and government aid — to split between the district and the state. That will be compounded by increases in costs for employee salaries and health insurance premiums, out-of-district placements and cyberschool tuition, business manager Jason Barnett said.
This won’t be the last time school districts must wrestle with pension costs: The school employees’ retirement system estimates that the cost to the state and school districts will triple in four years and then stay at that level until 2035.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that some school boards began saving for a spike in pension costs that they thought would be higher and come sooner. But because of the Legislature’s efforts to blunt the spike, some districts may have a little surplus cash to help absorb more losses in state aid next year.
“The good thing is they have that cash to weather this storm a little bit,” said Jim Buckheit, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. “At least, many have it.”