Governor Tom Corbett confronted the state’s most powerful special interest when he asked lawmakers to send him, as part of the budget, bills reforming public pensions and privatizing liquor sales. The public sector unions have prevented both of these reforms from reaching his desk. As a result, the Governor announced today that he will blue-line-veto $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative-designated spending. The remainder of budget has been signed, enacted, and will be implemented immediately.
The unfunded liability for state employees and teacher pensions is $41 billion, and if something isn’t done soon we are on the hook for it. The Governor is offering a plan that will almost surely result in a tough political fight because part of it calls for adjusting the pension formulas of those currently employed. There may be no alternative. His budget office says that next fiscal year the costs for pensions will consume 60 percent of all new revenues, money that should be going to core government programs.