Pension Reform Veto Costs Pennsylvanians Dearly
Public Employees & Middle Class Bear Consequences of Pension Inaction
Today, Governor Tom Wolf confirmed that he will veto historic pension reform legislation that would have safeguarded public employees’ retirements while protecting Pennsylvanians from burdensome tax increases.
“Unfortunately, Governor Wolf wasted a rare opportunity to meaningfully reform a broken public pension system that’s piled up $53 billion in debt,” said Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “Instead of safeguarding public employees’ futures and taxpayers’ wallets, Governor Wolf is playing politics with the main driver of property tax increases across the state.”
Years of underfunding and political manipulation means schools will have to contribute an additional $1.7 billion toward our pension debt over the next five years—amounting to $600 more in property taxes per homeowner. That’s a major blow to middle-class Pennsylvanians looking to buy a house or seniors looking to hold on to their homes.
Meanwhile, thousands of public school teachers have been laid off as a result of our rapidly accelerating pension crisis, and without reform, it will only get worse.
Wolf’s plan to ‘fix’ the pension problem by borrowing $3 billion in pension obligation bonds is akin to paying off your mortgage with your credit card and acting like you’ve made a sound investment. Plus, pension funding will continue to be subject to political manipulation.
Pennsylvania’s public servants and taxpayers deserve better. It’s time for Governor Wolf to abandon his ‘my way or the highway’ approach, put Pennsylvanians ahead of politics, and stop vetoing progress.
Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment today. Please contact me at 717-671-1901 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
Senior Communications Officer