A couple of stories about Pennsylvania’s pension crisis reveal some crazy talk (HT Grassroots PA). First, in an article covering some proposed reforms, Gov. Rendell claims gambling will solve the problem.
Gov. Ed Rendell, who met with legislators on the pension crisis this month, pointed to casino revenue as part of the solution.
Once the property tax relief fund culled from casino revenue is fully up and running, there will be significant tax relief, he said.
As often as the Governor says things he later regrets, and as many bad predictions as he’s made, I still find it hard to believe he made this claim. Surely he knows that the tax “relief” from slots has not come close to keeping up with normal property tax increases, that table games (which won’t go towards property tax relief) will likely undermine slots revenue, and even the most optimistic forecast of slots money won’t approach the $6 billion increase in pension contributions taxpayers are on the hook for.
But topping Rendell on the crazy meter, at least for the blatant hypocrisy, is the state teachers’ unions, the PSEA. Talking about the proposal to phase in increase payments over many years, to the cost of $52 billion:
Wythe Keever of the Pennsylvania State Education Association said the teachers union could support Evans’ bill as long as it is not amended.
The teachers say pension problems stem from the state’s failure to make adequate contributions to the plans.
In other words, we should defer pension payments, because Deferred payment are the sole cause of the problem.
If you find it odd that the PSEA is now supporting postponing payments into the pension fund, after spending dues on a “keep the promise” lobbying campaign, you haven’t been paying attention. The PSEA has been complicit in the pension crisis from the get-go: lobbying for a benefits increase, supporting the previous deferral of payments, and denying there was any crisis and fighting pension reform for years.