Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pennsylvania's financial future not so bright

Veteran Harrisburg journalist John Micek rang the warning bell today and we'd all be wise to heed the sound.

Micek took a national report about the most serious threats to a state's fiscal stability and, essentially, said Pennsylvania is, well, seriously threatened. The state's massively underfunded pension liabilities are a major source of concern.

Consider this nugget:

The six states in the study accounted for about half the shortfall. But Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s most populous states, is paying about one-third of what it should be paying into its pension funds, said Nathan Benefield, a policy analyst for the Commonwealth Foundation, a right-leaning Harrisburg think-tank.
That's one-third of what it should be paying. Put that in perspective for a moment. What if you only paid one-third of your mortgage each month? You'd certainly get the attention of your creditors, wouldn't you? Well, Pennsylvania has done that, too. Just a few days ago, Micek reported that the ratings agency Moody's had downgraded the state's credit worthiness a notch.

It will take more than the economy picking up to bridge this gap, too. The storm coulds are gathering and this one isn't pass over.

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