Pennsylvania’s required annual contributions to its two pension systems are set to grow by $466 million next year – bringing the state’s tab in 2015 to over $2 billion.
The information was revealed by the state’s budget secretary during an annual update on the state’s fiscal condition.
From the PA Independent:
State-level contributions to Pennsylvania’s two pension plans will have to climb by an estimated $466 million in the next budget, after an increase of about $520 million this year. Next year could be considered the mid-point of a decade-long “pension spike” that sees retirement costs consuming larger and larger shares of the state’s spending each year.
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby of Gov. Tom Corbett’s outgoing administration outlined the bad news this week in an annual mid-year update on the state’s fiscal situation.
After four years of seeing pension costs grow — the state spent about $500 million on pensions in the last budget before Corbett took office, compared to more than $1.7 billion this year — and making limited headway on any changes to how the state pays for its employees’ retirement, the governor’s team will soon hand responsibility to Wolf.
The pension crisis has its roots in a series of decisions made by three different governors and state legislatures between 2001 and 2003. A series of changes to the pension plans increased benefits without asking state workers to contribute more towards retirement, boosted retirement benefits for those who were no longer working at all and allowed the state to take a decade-long “pension holiday” without paying for those increased costs.
That pension holiday ended in 2011, leaving first Corbett and now Wolf holding the bag.
It was also revealed that pension payments could rise above $3 billion annually by 2019.