Gov. Tom Corbett Monday kicked off a statewide tour in his hometown asking local residents for their help in calling on the state legislature to bring property tax relief to Pennsylvania residents and pass meaningful pension reform legislation.
"I'm here today to talk about an issue that hits close to home for all of us," Governor Corbett said. "Across Pennsylvania, residents are facing rising property taxes due to out-of-control pension costs."
In fact, pension costs in Allegheny County school districts have increased by more than $92 million, or by almost 250 percent, over the past 10 years. That's just not sustainable."
Citing pension costs as a primary reason, 13 out of 43 school districts in Allegheny County will be raising their property taxes over their index for the 2014-15 school year.
"Pennsylvania families work hard for every dollar and they expect their lawmakers to work just as hard and make the tough choices necessary to keep Pennsylvania moving forward – the time to fix pension costs is now," Corbett continued.
The governor was joined for the event today in the Shaler Township Municipal Building by Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), as well as local school administrators, other officials and local residents.
He shared that the current pension reform plan under consideration, House Bill 1353, originally introduced by Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) and amended through Amendment A06917 by Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill), will not change benefits for any current state or public school employees, nor will it change any benefits for retirees.
Without pension reform, the governor shared the following facts:
— Property taxes are rising: One hundred sixty-three school districts requested exemptions to increase property taxes, 99.4 percent of which cited pension costs as the reason for the exemption.
— Pension costs mean less money for important programs and services: Pension costs are consuming more than 60 cents of every new dollar of state general fund revenues.
— Our pension debt is growing quickly: Pennsylvania's pension costs are approximately $50 billion, and in just three years, those costs will rise to $65 billion. Each Pennsylvania taxpayer would need to contribute approximately $13,000 to eliminate our debt today."I am urging the citizens of Pennsylvania to join in this fight and demand that the legislature address the most important fiscal challenge facing the Commonwealth: pension reform," Corbett concluded. "Pennsylvania families and taxpayers deserve nothing less."