The Moody's downgrade: Inaction's price
“What's the rush?” That's what state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo famously asked this month before making the motion to remand to committee long-overdue public employee pension reform legislation. Consider the Bucks County Republican's question now infamous, given it was one reason cited by a credit rating agency in downgrading the Keystone State's debt.
On Monday, Moody's Investors Service cut the rating on more than $11 billion in general obligation bonds. In addition to the multibillion-dollar pension debt that only will balloon with inaction, Moody's cited Pennsylvania's just-passed smoke-and-mirrors budget, one that heavily relies on one-time revenue and fuels the commonwealth's “growing structural imbalance.” The move will lead to higher borrowing costs, meaning a deeper dive into taxpayers' pockets.
The Legislature's Republican majority responded as expected, bobbing and weaving to note that Moody's praised it for another on-time budget. The Democrat minority responded predictably, shilling for more “revenue,” the latest attempt to tax Pennsylvania to prosperity.
Gov. Tom Corbett, meanwhile, continues touring the state to push stalled pension legislation. And while he admits it would do nothing to immediately reduce the state's $50 billion unfunded liability, it does begin what will be the long process of unwinding an unsustainable pension system.
Indeed, great journeys begin with first steps. Let's get on with this one.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.