Pennsylvania state workers did not underfund the pension plans

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As a retired Pennsylvania state employee and retired union official, I can expertly comment on Gov. Tom Corbett’s pension proposals. As I read Gov. Corbett’s ultimatum to our legislators (“Pa. Budget Woes Persist as Deadline Approaches: Gov. Won’t Budge on Pension, Spirits,” June 17), it seems as if he will not take any criticism of his failed pension plan. And as we all know the current crisis was the result of consistent underfunding by state and school agencies, not the employees.

Every employee knows the value of a defined pension benefit. In fact, a large majority of employees work for less compensation than in private industry and a large majority are dedicated experts at their jobs, staying for the pension. The governor’s proposal for an employee 401(k) plan would simply encourage expertly trained employees to leave for greener pastures at the first opportunity and provide less funding to the existing plan.

That being said, I can tell you that in my opinion most employees would pay more into their pensions than currently permitted if the option were put in place. If you ask the employees if they could increase their payments into the retirement fund they would do so if the guarantee of pensions would remain in place.

I know in my time as a state employee and a union official no one ever asked us, or even proposed, raising the cap. Isn’t it about time the governor does just that?

DONALD G. BROWN
Mount Oliver

The writer is retired president of AFSCME Local 2459.


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