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7/28/2014

Governor Corbett Meets with Huntingdon County Residents, Agriculture Community to Urge Legislature to Take Action on Pension Reform

News for Immediate Release

July 28, 2014

Fights to Control Property Taxes for Hard-Working Pennsylvania Families

Tyrone – Governor Tom Corbett talked with Huntingdon County residents and members of the agriculture community at a farm outside Tyrone today discussing the hardships they are facing due to rising property taxes driven by increasing pension costs.

His stop was part of continuing statewide meetings calling on the state legislature to pass meaningful pension reform legislation to bring property tax relief to Pennsylvania residents.

“We are facing a pension crisis,” Gov. Corbett said. “Across Pennsylvania, homeowners, especially our farmers, are facing rising property taxes due to out-of-control pension costs.

“In fact, pension costs in Huntingdon County school districts have increased by more than $2 million – more than 230 percent – in the past 10 years. These escalating costs are absolutely not sustainable.”

Two Huntingdon County school districts will raise property taxes over their index for the 2014-15 school year, citing pension costs as a primary reason. 

“I urge the citizens of Pennsylvania to join in this fight and demand that the legislature address pension reform. It is the most important fiscal challenge facing the commonwealth,” Gov. Corbett said. “Pennsylvania families and taxpayers deserve solutions from their elected officials.”

Joining the governor today were farmer and former Huntingdon County Commissioner Bill Hoover, his wife Deb, and farmers representing school districts from across the county.

The governor made clear 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.

The governor outlined the fiscal strain on the state as a result of the pension crisis:

  • 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 the current debt.

Join the pension reform conversation on Twitter at #PensionReformPA.

Media contact: Owen McEvoy, 717-783-1116

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