Governor Holds Firm on Port Authority Assistance
Once again Governor Corbett has nixed the pleas for his help in getting more money for the Port Authority. In response to a question on funding, the Governor said he is "not prepared to do anything" until he "sees movement" in contract negotiations. In holding firm he continues to keep the pressure on the unions and retirees of the Authority to make significant concessions, the only way the Port Authority can ever hope to deal with its massive legacy cost and compensation problems.
The game of chicken the unions have always played leading up to the end of contract deadline is underway again. In the past few negotiations, the threat of a strike has been explicit or implied as a way of getting the management to give up its demands or to get a Governor to find extra money taken from highway funds as a temporary fixes to the Authority’s finances. Having always won these contests of will in the past, the unions and retirees are inclined to believe the current Governor will give in at the last minute rather than watch the implementation of the massive service cuts Port Authority management say are coming in September.
If history holds, the real test of the Governor’s position will occur at the end of the contract if the unions go on strike or in August just before the service cuts get implemented. But this is a contest the Governor must win if sanity is to return to Port Authority financial management.
The Allegheny Institute continues to recommend a one- time boost in state assistance of $30 million in exchange for a substantial permanent reduction on retiree health care benefit concessions, current compensation concessions and a no strike pledge for ten years.