What about state pensions?

Well, Gov. Wolf delivered another lame budget proposal that again fails to address the issue that is driving our state to bankruptcy: Pensions! ("Wolf cites 'largest cuts' in Pa. history," Feb. 8).

It is amazing to me how so many of us in the private workforce (myself included, a hardworking nurse) have to save for our own retirements, but Pennsylvania provides an abundant pension for teachers and state workers on my dime. I can't tell you how many of my teacher friends have retired in their mid-50s with full pensions while everyone else in the state labors on to pay for them.

|Sue Mozeleski, Philadelphia

Was Toomey's vote bought?

Why did Sen. Toomey support Betsy DeVos as education secretary despite her zero experience and her animosity toward public education ("Area educators blast DeVos approval," Feb. 8)? Was it because he is a good Republican willing to ignore the educational needs of our children for partisan politics? Or was it because the DeVos family contributed thousands to Toomey's campaigns? For either reason or both, I hope the voters don't forget Toomey sold out our children and their futures.

|Avalie R. Saperstein, Meadowbrook

Beverage tax does real harm

I thank the bipartisan state legislators who filed an amicus brief calling for the state Commonwealth Court to overturn Philadelphia's controversial beverage tax ("36 Pa. legislators call for beverage tax overturn," Feb. 7). They are correct in calling the tax illegal and noting the negative impact it will have on the state budget. They're right to be concerned that the tax will result in lost sales tax revenue for the state's general fund, which will imperil the funding of critically needed services.

Sen. Anthony Williams (D., Phila.) accurately noted that the lower-income Philadelphians the Kenney administration is trying to help through the beverage tax are the ones being most hurt financially by it. Many corner stores and even some supermarkets in poorer neighborhoods may be forced to close due to lost revenue.

As predicted, many of my members have seen their take-home pay cut in half as a result of drastically slumping sales, which will only get worse. The tax will never realize the revenue projected. It will only further cement our dismal reputation as an anti-business city. Overturn it.

|Daniel H. Grace, secretary and treasurer, Teamsters Local 830, Philadelphia, dgrace@teamsters830.org

Democrats mismanaged schools

Accused sexual harasser Vincent Fenerty is a sleaze and deserves a jail cell, not a huge payout and a huge pension. But was it necessary to mention that the Philadelphia Parking Authority is Republican-run four times in your editorial ("Parking pays big at PPA," Feb. 7)?

You have printed many articles on the sad state and money pit that is the Philadelphia School District, but never mention that the Democrats have mismanaged and sucked it dry for 50 years.

|Nancy Gordon, Philadelphia, ngordon1@sbcglobal.net

Happer no climate scientist

Shame on the Inquirer for perpetuating the false equivalency between climate change as understood by legitimate climate scientists and the fraudulent claims made by hoaxters such as William Happer ("No threat from carbon dioxide," Feb. 7). Although Happer is an accomplished physicist at Princeton, he is not an expert on the causes and effects of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He has used his status to serve as an apologist for fossil-fuel industries, claiming that rising levels of carbon dioxide is actually good news for humanity. His "scientific" claims are not based in science. His papers on the subject cannot pass the process of peer-review, which is the gold standard for identifying valid and robust science.

|Thomas G. Corley, Hulmeville

Clarification

A Feb. 3 editorial titled "Don't skip ethics classes" mentioned State Sen. Larry Farnese's federal fraud trial. For clarification, the editorial was not suggesting that Sen. Farnese's defense was that paying a bribe was common. Sen. Farnese was exonerated because the jury found that his payment toward a city committeewoman's daughter's study-abroad trip was not, in fact, a bribe, but rather an act of constituent service and that such constituent service was common in local politics.