Top Pennsylvania Senator: No Budget Until Pension Reform Passed


The top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate on Monday made it clear that the fight over state pension changes will only become harder fought in the coming months.

Sen. Jake Corman said Monday that Republicans will introduce a plan to switch new state hires into 401(k) plans, and introduce some sort of cap on benefits for other workers.

The statement came with a twist: Corman said he wouldn’t vote on the state budget, due June 30, until pension reform is passed.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Pensions is the budget,” Mr. Corman, R-Centre, told a luncheon of the Pennsylvania Press Club. “We’re not doing a budget without it. We can’t. It’s been like a tsunami. It’s been nice — it’s sort of a pretty wave when it’s hundreds of miles out there, but when it hits land, it causes a lot of damage. Well, this one’s hit land, and it’s time to deal with it.”

Mr. Corman supports enrolling future state and public school workers in 401(k)-style, defined-contribution retirement plans. He said he also believes the state could make changes to the future benefits of some current workers.


On Monday, Mr. Corman described the proposal for current employees as returning them to 2001 benefit levels. Workers would have a choice between returning to those benefits for future earnings or paying more to maintain the current benefit, said Jennifer Kocher, Mr. Corman’s spokeswoman.

According to TribLive, Gov. Tom Wolf declined to comment on the proposal.

Wolf has opposed any major structural changes to the state’s pension system.

The bill is likely to be introduced in April and voted on in May.


Photo by  Penn State via Flickr CC License

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