Corbett expected to again call for change in Pa. pension system funding

    Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to use his budget address Tuesday to suggest some kind of public pension overhaul in Pennsylvania — but critics are already calling the proposal short-sighted.

    The anticipated plan includes some reduction of scheduled payments to the state and school employee retirement systems.

    Those payments shouldn’t be cut just to free up money for other state budget line items, warned Stephen Herzenberg, director of the left-leaning Keystone Research Center.

    “It would be remarkable, given how we got into the current situation with pensions, if the governor proposed to kick the can down the road once again,” he said. “We cannot afford to do that.”

    The state’s pension systems already are underfunded in part due to the state’s delaying payments, Herzenberg said.

    Next fiscal year, the state’s bill from the pension funds will go up by $600 million.

    Corbett said the payments are crowding out funds for other programs. But the governor’s proposals last year seeking an overhaul of public pensions failed to gain traction in the Legislature.

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