Pension crisis

Dear editor:

Recently a letter claimed that the pending state Pension Crisis was a result of the state and school districts not paying their “fair share”. Now why would that be?

First off, what the author means by the “state and school districts” is taxpayers. And, if memory serves me correctly, when the folks that run the fund got the legislators (our former Representative at the time) to approve a 25% increase in benefit payments, (50% for legislators) the taxpayers were told that they wouldn’t have to pay more and that the increase was justified by the wise investments made by fund administrators.

Well, along came 911 and the “Tech Bubble” and here we are. It seems that the pension fund was invested in the private sector for returns, but (as we are learning) is protected from loss by taxpayers. What some call “Fair Share.”

Now I’m not in favor of anyone who has served in in the public sector losing benefits. But I do not believe taxpayers should be left holding the bag for an unrealistic decision that some would have you forget.

So here’s an idea: why doesn’t the state give the pension fund, in lieu of payments, the PA Turnpike, the entire state liquor store system, and throw in the PA lottery to sweeten the deal. That way, fund administrators can continue to operate these institutions in the highly proficient and professional manner they were accustomed to, and negotiate wages and benefits with themselves. The result would be that state retirement benefits would be directly linked to the efficiency of state employees. Now that is what I would consider the proper use of the word fair.

Tim Hagberg