Letters to the Editor: August 13, 2014

At­tack­ing our pen­sions

The school em­ploy­ees’ re­tire­ment pen­sion plan is un­der at­tack by the politi­cians in Har­ris­burg. Of course they leave out some of the most im­port­ant facts. They fail to dis­close that:

1. From 1996 through 2014, the state of Pennsylvania stopped be­ing re­quired to make any con­tri­bu­tions to the plan.

2.  From 2000 through 2011, the school em­ploy­ees’ con­tri­bu­tion rates al­ways ex­ceeded the school dis­tricts’ con­tri­bu­tion rate.

3. Dur­ing 2001 to 2003, the schools dis­tricts were re­quired to pay in­to the plan from only 1.15 to 1.94 per­cent while the em­ploy­ees paid in 5.77 to 7.10 per­cent. 

4. The plans’ funds are  in­ves­ted, man­aged and con­trolled by the state not by the em­ploy­ees.

5. The em­ploy­ees al­ways paid in­to the plan what was re­quired of them.

Please check in­to why the PSERS and SERS plans are not fully fun­ded and stop listen­ing to the polit­ic­al sound­bites dur­ing this elec­tion year.

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

De­bat­ing ci­gar­ette tax

I agree with Bill Serody about the un­fair­ness of the ci­gar­ette tax. Ban­ning smoking in all pub­lic places, in­clud­ing parks, and try­ing to put an­oth­er tax on ci­gar­ettes is just a bit hy­po­crit­ic­al, isn’t it?  

That be­ing said, Bill, you are flat wrong about only par­ents of kids in pub­lic school be­ing taxed. It was your choice, as well as your par­ents, to send their kids to Cath­ol­ic school. 

That doesn’t re­lieve you of the duty of pay­ment of taxes by every cit­izen. Some­times life isn’t fair.

Joe Oren­stein


Pentagon budget cuts

Pres­id­ent Obama has signed a fund­ing bill that keeps the Pentagon budget mov­ing in the dir­ec­tion of sav­ing $850 to $900 bil­lion a year. That’s pro­gress. I hope our sen­at­ors, Ca­sey and Toomey, will work in the next two years to sup­port fur­ther cuts in the Pentagon budget and ad­di­tion­al in­vest­ments to meet the needs of our strug­gling com­munit­ies at home.

Mary E. Hamilton

Fox Chase

Sale of PGW will hurt rate­pay­ers in the city

In re­sponse to the June 25 let­ter from the Great­er North­east Cham­ber of Com­merce re­gard­ing the sale of PGW:

How can you say, “UIL has prom­ised to re­place an­ti­quated in­fra­struc­ture twice as fast as PGW, res­ult­ing in more con­struc­tion jobs and a high­er level of pub­lic safety?” Who is go­ing to pay for twice the amount of work? Every­one who is a nat­ur­al gas cus­tom­er in this city. 

The work will be sub­con­trac­ted out and safety will be com­prom­ised. Who will train and cer­ti­fy them and at what cost? 

As far as pub­lic dis­cus­sions go, this should be a ques­tion on the bal­lot for the rate­pay­ers to de­cide. This is the most im­port­ant de­cision that City Coun­cil, the PUC and our le­gis­lat­ors will ever make. It in­volves selling off an en­tity that could be a for-profit com­pany if the City Charter al­lowed. 

The city has been “kick­ing the can” too long to use the ex­cuse we need the money to off­set the pen­sion costs. Who will bail out UIL if they need to raise the rates and stop en­ergy re­bates and seni­or cit­izen dis­counts?  The rate­pay­ers. 

Let’s face it — the school dis­trict can­not op­er­ate every year without in­creases. And we see how they are treated. 

Why do you think there were 33 bid­ders to buy PGW? Why has UIL spent close to $7 mil­lion in an­ti­cip­a­tion of the sale? Be­cause they know PGW can make money for them. It’s simple busi­ness lo­gic. Why is there no one in the busi­ness com­munity poised to lead our city? Is it just the same old hat or is it just to late? 

Do not sell PGW; in­vest in it.

Mark Evans (PGW Re­tir­ee)


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