Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes Trash Tax to Ease Pension Pains

garbage truck

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has made pension reform a major part of his re-election platform, but has had little luck finding lawmakers to help him push through proposals.

One lawmaker put a new idea in the ring Thursday, although it’s probably not what Corbett had in mind.

Reported by the Morning Call:

State Rep. David Milliard thinks there may be pension gold buried in the state’s landfills.

On Thursday, the Republican from Columbia County floated a bill that would impose an additional $3 tipping fee on waste haulers to reduce school districts’ rising pension costs.

The additional fee would generate an additional $51 million and be put into a new pension-only fund controlled by the state Treasury, according to a memorandum Milliard published seeking co-sponsors to his bill. The Additional Commonwealth Contributions to School Districts Account.” to be used to help districts lower pension costs. The money would be distributed to districts, but not charter schools, on a prorated basis.

The proposal is meant to ease pension costs for school districts, which are subject to rising contribution rates designed to help cover the state’s pension funding shortfall. From the Morning Call:

Mandatory pension payments for school districts rose about 4.5 percent to 21.4 percent of payroll this fiscal year. The rising rates are based on Act 120, which went into effect in 2011. The law sets a increasing, fixed rates the state and school districts must pay each year to cover back pension debt, which is now approaching $50 billion. The state and school districts are having trouble keeping up with those payments even though they are lower than they would be if the law were not in effect.

So far, no other lawmakers have sponsored the bill.