Governor Tom Corbett visited a local coffee shop today in Hummelstown, continuing his statewide tour calling on the state legislature to bring property tax relief to Pennsylvania residents and pass meaningful pension reform legislation.
“We are facing a pension crisis,” Governor Corbett said. “Across Pennsylvania, homeowners are facing rising property taxes due to out-of-control pension costs.”
In fact, pension costs in Dauphin County school districts have increased by more than $20 million, or by almost 270 percent, over the past 10 years. That’s just not sustainable.” Citing pension costs as a primary reason, both Derry Township and Middletown Area school districts in Dauphin County will be raising their property taxes over their index for the 2014-15 school year.
“I urge 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 said. “Pennsylvania families and taxpayers deserve nothing less.”
The governor was joined for the event at the Cocoa Beanery in Hummelstown by Derry Township Supervisor John Foley, as well as other local school administrators and local residents.
He shared that the current pension reform plan under consideration 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.