Kick the Can

Or elect to punt, defer, put it off for another day: whatever euphemism works, the Public School Employees Retirement System board voted to reduce the contribution rate for the school pension system from 8.22% to 5.64% this coming year resulting in savings of $349 million and lessening the blow from $11 billion to $761 million.

One of the board’s "no" votes said the action "will make it even harder to deal with the pension funding crisis next year. We can’t continue to push this problem down the road".

But it is interesting to consider the source of where the directive came from.

The state budget contained language that mandated PSERS’ board recertify the contribution rate for FY11. The board actually issued a subsequent resolution (2010-27) that stated the budget’s "…directive to recertify the employer contribution rate undermines the PSERB’s fiduciary responsibility to maintain a properly funded pension plan as required by the PSERC; and the mandated re-certification of the employer contribution rate not only fails to address the serious long-term under-funding of PSERS, but increases the unfunded liability of PSERS".

Teacher Union President Needs Some Education

In an opinion piece earlier this week the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association set out the teachers’ association position on the impending requirement for massive contribution increases to the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS). Those increases will almost certainly necessitate hikes in state and school district taxes. Basically, teachers will help craft a solution to the pension funding crisis as long as they are not required to shoulder any of the burden.  That is to say, the unions will strongly oppose any reduction in future retirement benefits and any efforts to shift to a defined contribution system such as 401(k)s. So much for any real assistance. 

 

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Another Example of Union Tone Deafness

Teachers in the South Butler School District are on strike for the second time in the last twelve months.  They can stay on the picket lines until early October under Act 88.  They face no punishment, fines, or possible loss of union decertification as happens in other states when teachers strike.

 

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