I guess Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign has unofficially kicked off, as he has identified the political boogey man he will battle.

Who is this ogre? They are the hard-working men and women who belong to the Pennsylvania State Employees/Teachers Retirement System. What did they do to become a monster? The portion of their contribution to the pension system was deducted from their paychecks; there is no choice to opt out.

So who really is to blame for the pension fiasco? It's the state Legislature and governor's office.

How so? Since 2005 the Legislature has failed to contribute more than 46 percent of the state's contractually obligated share of pension contributions. Instead they wrote IOUs that are now coming due.

This failure was exasperated in 2005 with the now infamous "Midnight Pay Raise" in which the (Republican majority) legislators voted for themselves a minimum of $10,000 per member, per year pension increase. This legislation also increased pensions for many, but not all state employees. This legislation was signed into law by the Democratic Pennsylvania governor.

So now we know the pension fiasco can be blamed on Republicans and Democrats, the Legislature and the governor's office. Who is not to blame? The state employees/teachers.


If Corbett wants the citizens of Pennsylvania to believe he is serious about pension reform, he, as political heir to the governor that contributed to this fiasco, should legally renounce his own state pension. Corbett should then personally go to every member of the state Legislature and ask them to also renounce their pension. The legislator's response should then be published (expletives deleted, of course).

This would prove to the voters of Pennsylvania that Corbett is genuinely concerned about pension reform and not just using political demagoguery to obscure his own political shortcomings -- shortcomings such as refusing to levy taxes on natural gas drillers, voter suppression and unanswered questions concerning the Jerry Sandusky investigation.

Come on governor, put your pension where your mouth is.

Ralph Striebig

Hellam Twp.