Gov. Tom Corbett, March 8, unveiled a $27.3 billion budget that would be $900 million less than what the state spent last year.
Fine and dandy. The budget means no tax hike. Of course it also means 1,500 state workers would lose their jobs, some of which are probably waste but some of which are not.
The thing that is going to be overlooked as this drama moves to the legislature is that this general fund budget which will be the cause of much screeching is less than half of what the state is actually going to spend next year.
Pennsylvania spent $28.2 billion in general fund money last year; $23 billion in federal money, which doesn’t include the stimulus money; and $14.4 billion in special fund money, which is money is directed from sources specified by law.
The special funds included the $2.58 billion for the State Employees Retirement Fund and $5.36 billion for the School Employees Retirement Fund.
You know, if public pensions were maxed at $45,000 probably just about all those jobs could have been saved. Now, someone is going to say that that money is allocated by law. Well, laws can be changed. And someone will say but the legislators are among those getting those nice pensions. Well, legislators can be changed. And someone will say but the judges — who are also beneficiaries of those fat pensions — will overturn the new laws saying the pensions were a holy bargain that may never be abridged. Well, judges can not only be voted from office but they can be impeached as well.
Finally, someone will say it’s just not moral. Well, if someone thinks it’s OK to fund fat pensions to unproductive people by making a widow living on a $20,000 fixed income pay a few thousand more in property taxes, that person has no grounds to voice the word “moral”.