The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 26, 2013

Ease the burden


---- — With the June 30 budget deadline fast approaching, legislators in Harrisburg are rushing to act on several issues being pushed by Governor Tom Corbett.

One major action being considered is "reform" to the public employee pension systems. The House and Senate are both considering bills which would force all new state and public school employees into a 401(k) plan.

The governor and Republican proponents of this legislation claim it will save money. However, several independent financial studies, including one by the governor's own advisors, have shown that it will actually cost Pennsylvania taxpayers an additional $37 to $42 billion dollars. This "reform" will do nothing to resolve the current funding issue with the existing public employee retirement programs and will actually increase the future costs for those plans.

Local municipalities and school districts must already raise taxes to pay for the underfunded pension plans. If this legislation is enacted, future increases will have to be even greater to cover the additional costs.

Act 120 of 2010 made major changes to the pension plans and will save $19 billion over the next three decades. Now the governor and Republican legislators want to reverse those savings and incur more expense for taxpayers.

Unfortunately, those supporting this legislation do not seem to care that it will cost more money and unless they hear from the taxpayers, will vote to increase the local tax burden. I urge you to contact your senator and representative immediately and urge them to oppose the governor's pension "reforms." Tell them to let Act 120 work as intended and ease the burden on taxpayers.

David B. Kyle, New Columbia