Our opinion:?Compromise where due
With his poll numbers dragging and Senate and House constituents restive, it is becoming increasingly clear that the cozy relationship between Gov. Tom Corbett and a legislature dominated by his own party isn’t as cozy as it once was.
There are indications that the House and Senate GOP aren’t as likely to rubber-stamp the governor’s agenda as they once were.
The result has been an effort to compromise on some issues that beg compromise.
A case in point was illustrated Tuesday, when the Republican-led House State Government Committee reported out a bill to rein in the state’s run-away pension system, though not in the way the governor would have liked.
Corbett’s plan was to roll back pension benefits for about 15,000 current state employees and convert the current defined benefit plan to a 401K-style program that has now become fairly normal in the private sector.
The GOP in the House tossed the first part of the governor’s plan, which was fraught with legal problems, not the least of which was a constitutional challenge, while making the personally directed retirement investment plan the standard for members of the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System and for members of the State Employees’ Retirement system hired starting in 2015.
The House action is somewhat similar to a Senate bill, although that chamber has put forth a proposal that would retain the defined benefit plan for existing employees and future state police and prison guards. The House version would convert those law enforcement personnel to the new plan but guarantee them more generous state contributions.
We believe the General Assembly is reacting reasonably to a difficult situation, which ironically was of its own making, by giving away the farm in the mistaken belief that the good times would never end.
As Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield, pointed out, it would set state employees on a path “where politicians can’t screw it up any more. They will be in control of their own accounts.”