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.
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.
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
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)