Pennsylvania Credit Rating Takes Another Hit

Citing the unwillingness of political officials to make difficult decisions, Fitch bond rating agency has lowered Pennsylvania’s credit rating. This follows Moody’s downgrade last year. Fitch also says that unfunded pension obligations now represent the dominant share the state’s long term obligations.

The failure to address the problem this year compounds the issue and inevitably makes the eventual coming to grips more difficult. There are reasonable proposals on the table including those made by the Governor earlier this year. Fear of offending the powerful unions has hamstrung the Legislature who apparently cannot put the well-being of the state ahead of their fear of being opposed heavily by unions in the next election.

But no one should be surprised. This is the same Legislature that refuses to deal with the money wasting prevailing wage law, public ownership of liquor stores, teacher strikes, transit strikes or any other issue that unions defend with all their considerable power.

While they might congratulate themselves on maintaining their privileged positions, they must be made to understand that in the long run, their opposition to solving any problems they create will make it harder for Pennsylvania to compete. The boost the state has received from Marcellus Shale will not be enough to overcome the obstacles represented by the free market killing behavior of so much of the body politic.

More downgrades can be expected. How many will it take to get Harrisburg’s attention?