When I left a higher-paying private sector engineering job to become a Pennsylvania public school teacher 18 years ago, I knew I would be trading money for the priceless opportunity to inspire students and help them achieve their dreams. I also knew that, while my paycheck would be smaller than before, I would be able to earn a modest but secure retirement in the process.
For my first 15 years as a teacher, I worked a second job, and my wife worked part-time, simply to get by. Between the two of us, we barely made enough money to cover the mortgage, pay off student loans and raise our two children, thanks to wage freezes and benefit cuts. Through it all, I paid 7.5 percent of every paycheck toward my retirement. I knew my modest pension would be the bedrock for my family’s long-term financial security.
While I contributed to my pension every payday, Pennsylvania was skipping pension payments to fund pet projects or give tax breaks to big, out-of-state corporations. Now, Governor Corbett says he wants to rob workers of their retirement security. This pension theft would retire teachers into poverty.