State of Pennsylvania’s bond rating was recently downgraded by Moody’s Investment
Service from an Aa3 to an Aa2. The
company says the value of $11 billion dollars of state bonds is worth less due in part to the looming
Pennsylvania state employee pension deficit.
Below is an editorial written jointly by a number of Pa. business groups
that are concerned about that news and its impact on business and the state’s
This week’s announcement that Moody’s has downgraded
Pennsylvania’s credit rating shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone here in the
Keystone State. For months, financial analysts have been warning lawmakers that
the Commonwealth’s growing pension deficit was raising serious concerns about
the state’s overall fiscal stability.
With a public pension system that is buried beneath $50
billion in red ink, this deficit is the single-greatest threat to our state’s
Unfortunately, there remains a concerted effort among some
in Harrisburg to downplay, or even ignore, the severity of this problem. Rather
than consider ways to control costs and reform what is clearly a broken and
unsustainable system, far too many of our elected officials continue to target
job creators to pick up the growing public pension tab.
In a state that is already considered among the most
expensive in the nation to do business, the last thing any Pennsylvania
employer needs is to be tapped for new taxes. Ask any business owner or
operator, and they will say with unwavering certainty that this is a recipe for
There is a long list of lawmakers who are committed to
reforming our pension system, and they should be applauded for their efforts.
But those lawmakers who are instead opposing reform and pressing for new taxes
owe it to their local businesses to explain why they believe job creators
should pay more to support a broken system that they refuse to fix.
Hopefully Pennsylvania’s credit downgrade sends a new
warning to lawmakers and prompts them to take action. But if not, every
business should be prepared to send more money to Harrisburg and every working
resident should be prepared to see more jobs leave for other states.
This is certainly not an outcome we welcome, but it’s the
harsh reality of inaction.
President and CEO, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
President and CEO, Pennsylvania Business Council
Executive State Director, National Federation of Independent Business – Pennsylvania
Executive Director, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association
# # #