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The 2013 Pension 40: Tom Corbett

Tom Corbett

Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett hasn’t won a popularity contest with his proposal for state pension reform, but he believes that major changes must take place now to avoid even bigger problems tomorrow. Pennsylvania faces a $47 billion unfunded pension liability, with obligations increasing about $500 million every year. Corbett’s plan, introduced in February, includes moving new employees to a defined contribution system. Among its other features: changing benefits for current workers by modifying the lump-sum formula — today they receive a bonus for taking such an amount — and calculating pension payouts by averaging salaries over longer periods. These adjustments would prevent beneficiaries from padding the last few years of their working lives with overtime and other pay increases. Although state lawmakers declined to act on Corbett’s plan during the last budgetary process, the lifelong Pennsylvanian has said that he’s ready to start negotiating over the next several weeks, after the legislature reconvenes. Corbett, 64, who has a JD from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, was state attorney general before becoming governor in 2011. The former Pennsylvania National Guard captain also ran his own law practice and served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

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