Pennsylvania Senate Set to Approve Pension Overhaul


The Pennsylvania Senate this week is likely to pass a major pension overhaul, which would funnel new hires into a 401(k)-style plan and raise contributions for many current workers.

The proposal clashes with a plan released earlier this year by Gov. Tom Wolf, which calls for issuing pension bonds and raising taxes.

From TribLive:

A Senate vote this week on a bill to eliminate guaranteed pension benefits for state and school employees sets the stage for budget negotiations between Republicans controlling the legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, said the pension bill’s expected passage Wednesday will set up negotiations among the Senate, House and governor on pensions, liquor and the budget, which lawmakers must approve by July 1.


The Senate bill requires 401(k)-type plans for new state and school employees, and makes employees contribute more to maintain higher benefits awarded in 2001.

Ted Kirsch, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the measure “increases the cost to taxpayers, fails to pay down the state’s pension debt, and slashes retirement benefits for teachers, classroom assistants, school bus drivers and other public employees.”

Wolf’s spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan said the governor “does not support changing benefits for current employees.”

As noted above, Gov. Wolf would almost certainly veto the bill if it ever landed on his desk.

But Senate Republicans aren’t expecting the proposal to get that far; the point of passing the bill is that it brings the House to the negotiating table on the pension issue.


Photo credit: “Flag-map of Pennsylvania” by Niagara – Own work from File:Flag of Pennsylvania.svg and File:USA Pennsylvania location map.svgThis vector image was created with Inkscape. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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