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Corbett Stumps for Pension Reform

The governor was in Harborcreek this morning campaigning for a better way to fund pensions in Pennsylvania.
July 22, 2014 - Governor Corbett Meets with Residents of Erie Region, Officials to Urge Legislature to Fix Pension Costs
Fights to Control Property Taxes for Hard-Working Pennsylvania Families

Governor Tom Corbett visited Harbor Creek High School in Harborcreek today, continuing statewide meetings calling on the state legislature to pass meaningful pension reform legislation to bring property tax relief to Pennsylvania residents.

“We are facing a pension crisis,” Governor Corbett said. “Across Pennsylvania, homeowners are facing rising property taxes due to out-of-control pension costs.”

In fact, pension costs in Erie County school districts have increased by more than $21 million, or by over 280 percent, in the past 10 years. These high costs are absolutely not sustainable.”

Citing pension costs as a primary reason, Fairview, Harbor Creek, Millcreek Township and Wattsburg Area school districts in Erie County will be raising their property taxes over their index for the 2014-15 school year.

“I urge the citizens of Pennsylvania to join in this fight and demand that the legislature address pension reform. It is the most important fiscal challenge facing the commonwealth,” Corbett said. “Pennsylvania families and taxpayers deserve solutions from their elected officials.”

The governor was joined at the meeting by Harborcreek Township Supervisor Dean Pepicello, as well as other local school administrators and local residents.

The governor made clear that the current pension reform plan under consideration will not change benefits for any current state or public school employees, nor will it change any benefits for retirees.

The governor shared the following facts to outline the fiscal strain on the state as a result of the pension crisis:

Property taxes are rising: One hundred sixty-three school districts requested exemptions to increase property taxes, 99.4 percent of which cited pension costs as the reason for the exemption. Pension costs mean less money for important programs and services: Pension costs are consuming more than 60 cents of every new dollar of state general fund revenues. Our pension debt is growing quickly: Pennsylvania’s pension costs are approximately $50 billion, and in just three years, those costs will rise to $65 billion. Each Pennsylvania taxpayer would need to contribute approximately $13,000 to eliminate the current debt.
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