Pennsylvania deserves better than Kick-The-Can

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To The Editor,

Letters1We have a pension crisis in Pennsylvania. It was created by Governor Ridge and the legislature, when the passed Act 9 of 2001, then kicked down the road by Governor Rendell and the legislature for the 8 years that he was in office. In 2011 the pension crisis was addressed by Act 120, a balanced bipartisan solution to a long-term problem that moves the state toward paying off the bill. 

Now Gov. Corbett, in an effort to get reelected, has decided to kick that pension reform can down the road yet again, by taking funds dedicated to reducing the amount that the government should pay on this debt and using those funds elsewhere. This debt was accumulated during a decade of government underfunding which the legislature knew would have to be paid eventually and chose to ignore.  In realistic terms, it is like paying the minimum amount on a credit card and spending wildly on gifts. This is not fiscal responsibility. It’s irresponsibility for what appears to be a re-election tactic.

We need to ask exactly what new money is Gov. Corbett going to use to fund the things that he has promised in his budget proposal and is it sustainable funding?  We know he is banking on hundreds of millions in savings for proposals that have yet to be approved, like his Medicaid plan. We know he’s asking to cut funding to Emergency Services, Veterans needs and Natural Resources.  We know he is also suggesting that we postpone nearly $400 million in payments to businesses that provide care to the disabled. Making only 11 payments in a fiscal year, instead of 12 to make it appear that there is money to be had. Granted this kind of slick accounting has been around in government for a long time, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s business as usual and it needs to stop. The people of Pennsylvania deserve honest accounting and fiscally responsible spending.

Gov. Corbett and the legislature should be focusing on the long-term fiscal health of the state. We should be closing the corporate tax loopholes that allow more than 70% of businesses to avoid paying taxes.  We should expand the federal Medicaid plan into Pennsylvania that would help struggling families and bring thousands of new jobs into Pennsylvania. We should also be creating a fair natural gas severance fee that is in line with other states and focus on growing good jobs in Pennsylvania.

Can this be accomplished?  You bet it can!

 

Susan Rzucidlo

Candidate, 158th House District

www.SusanforPA.com

 

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Tags: Election 2014, Gov. Tom Corbett, pensions, state legislature
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3 Responses

  1. Dear Susan,
    You correctly point out that we have a pension funding problem. You take great lengths to criticize Corbett’s solution. But, in return, you fail to tell us how you would solve the problem. While there is lots of “pie in the sky” talk from you about “long term fiscal health”, just how would YOU balance next year’s budget?

    • I believe her last paragraph answers your question:
      ‘Gov. Corbett and the legislature should be focusing on the long-term fiscal health of the state. We should be closing the corporate tax loopholes that allow more than 70% of businesses to avoid paying taxes. We should expand the federal Medicaid plan into Pennsylvania that would help struggling families and bring thousands of new jobs into Pennsylvania. We should also be creating a fair natural gas severance fee that is in line with other states and focus on growing good jobs in Pennsylvania.’

      • No. That doesn’t answer my question. Medicaid dollars cannot be used to balance the budget; those dollars have to go toward expansion of Medicaid. A severance tax might be a partial solution, but then Susan needs to tell us what unfavorable effect the severance tax will have on “good jobs in Pennsylvania”. The tax “loophole” argument is a favorite of politicians, yet I’ve never seen the “loophole” defined or closed. Susan may have the answers to balance the budget, but she’ll have to be more articulate to get my support.

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