It's always amazing to watch editorial boards in this day and age attack reform plans before they have time to mature through the legislative process. Gov. Tom Corbett's "kidnapping" of education funding is a complete misperception. The governor and Legislature understand that the growing pension burden, if not addressed, could pull funding from education, which sits at a "record amount of $5.5 billion dollars." That is not what anyone wants to see.
Let's focus on a few statistics regarding this budget and upcoming budgets. One stat that is absent from the Dispatch's editorial is that "contributions will rise to nearly $5.2 billion in the coming decade." Factor that into a budget that sits at roughly $28 billion a year and its 18.5 percent of the budget. Our current budget has entitlement mandates passed down from the feds that are roughly 40 percent of the budget. With entitlement mandates becoming more and more pressing, we will see the combination between these two expenditures highjacking our state budget by more than 60 percent. This type of revenue being spent on such few areas will hurt our children, infrastructure and hundreds of other programs so many Pennsylvanian's need.
The Legislature will tear this budget down piece by piece and once all the cards are out on the table, pension reform will be the one fix that this state cannot afford to ignore.