By William Evans
The claim recently made that Southeast Pennsylvania’s GOP backed Corbett’s pension revamp rings hollow. What the GOP fears is that Corbett is likely to be replaced by Tom Wolfe in the next election and some of them will go down with Corbett.
Frankly, it will serve them right. If the GOP had truly supported revising the pension system for the teachers union and state employees they could have done it. But instead they frittered away the days with no solution in sight and none on the horizon.
I think this indicates that these unions hold the GOP by the short hairs just as surely as they hold the Democrats. The victim from the legislators recalcitrance is of course the public and most notably senior citizens living on fixed incomes.
To illustrate, Rose Tree Media school district in 2007 contributed $2.5 million to the teachers’ pension fund; this year 2014, the district is contributing $9.6 million, or an increase of $8.2 million – all taken from the pockets of already strapped taxpayers. In 2024 the contribution increases to $11.5 million. Please note that the amounts will be greater than these numbers because of the automatic increases in annual wages that teachers will receive over this time that increase the base on which the contributions are calculated.
The typical pension paid to RTM’s retiring teachers approaches $100,000 a year. Many have pensions that far exceed that amount. The school district’s administrators receive even more with the average exceeding $150,000 a year and the superintendent is already scheduled to get $180,000 per year.
Nobody in the private sector receives anything close to what the teachers’ union members get and yet the rest of us are forced to subsidize this scheme out of meager salaries and paltry retirement savings.
Frankly, I think there is no hope Pennsylvania will ever resolve this problem simply because the legislators in Harrisburg are feasting on the same system. They can’t handle change.
Mr. Evans is a member of Rose Tree Media Taxpayers United.
Hat tip Cathy Craddock