Pension overhaul at the top of Corbett’s 2014 to-do list

    Gov. Tom Corbett’s team seems to be gearing up for round two of the fight to overhaul Pennsylvania’s public pension systems in 2014.

    The wind went out of the administration’s sails this past June after the governor’s plan to address the state’s $47 billion public pension debt foundered in the Legislature.

    But the administration is hinting that new proposals are in the works.

    There’s interest in relieving some of the burden of rising pension costs for school districts, said Budget Secretary Charles Zogby.

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    Though the pension issue has largely dropped out of the public view, the administration has still been working on it, Zogby said.

    “We’re looking right now at, I think, some options that could potentially provide some promise for a strong reform package in the new year,” he said.

    Leslie Gromis Baker, the governor’s chief of staff, has said the issue is still part of the governor’s platform.

    “It has to get addressed at some point — even if it’s just starting the process,” she said. “It’s not saying that we’re going to solve it all in one year or in one initiative, but we’ve got to just start the process of getting the pension crisis under control.”

    The governor isn’t shying away from the issue just because he’s entering an election year, Baker said.

    Democrats vehemently opposed Corbett’s earlier proposal, which would alter current workers’ benefits and shrink the state’s scheduled payments on pension debt.

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