Keep the Promise: PSEA Pension Toolkit
What's the latest?
Dec. 19: State representatives voted to reject Senate Bill 1071 by a vote of 52-149.
PSEA news release: PSEA President comments on actuarial analysis of pension legislation (Dec. 17)
State representatives moved their own plan to attack school employee pensions out of a House committee on Dec. 15, sending it to the House floor for a possible vote this weekend.
State senators voted on Dec. 7 to pass a bill that cuts school employee pension benefits and makes Pennsylvania's educator retirement system the third worst in the country. Senate Bill 1082 passed by a vote of 38-12. That bill is also before the state House for consideration.
There are some small differences between the two bills, but one key fact is the same in both: These bills would create a system that costs more to provide less in retirement benefits.
What's in the bill?
Senate Bill 1071, which was amended by the House State Government Committee on Dec. 15, cuts current employee benefits and creates a new, inferior plan for new employees that would make Pennsylvania's school employee retirement system the third worst in the country.
Changes to the benefits of future employees will cost taxpayers at least 25 percent more than the current pension plans, according to an analysis by the Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC). The only savings in Senate Bill 1071 come from unconstitutional changes to the retirement benefits of current employees that PSEA vows to challenge and the courts are likely to throw out. If that happens, Senate Bill 1071 will actually cost taxpayers $2 billion more, PERC estimates.
And it does nothing to address the state's pension debt.
- Makes unconstitutional changes to the benefits of current educators, nurses, and state workers.
- Reduces current employees' monthly pension checks by changing the rules for withdrawing member contributions if they choose a lump-sum withdrawal.
- Cuts benefits for younger educators, nurses, and state workers by 18 to 28 percent.
- Weakens PSERS and SERS.
Find additional key facts and talking points here.
How is it different than the bill state senators passed on Dec. 7?
Unlike Senate Bill 1082, Senate Bill 1071 gives lawmakers and any other current employees in SERS and PSERS the choice to opt in to the new system, which would cut their retirement benefits by 18 to 28 percent. That means lawmakers get to stay in the current system unless they choose to go into the new one.
The bill also cuts out language in Senate Bill 1082 which would have put more of the state's pension payments on a credit card and allowed the General Assembly to vote on it without the independent actuarial analysis required by law.
Attention new members: You must make a critical decision about your pension within 45 days of being notified by PSERS. Learn more on the "Information for new members" page of the pension toolkit.
Keystone Research Center pension primers
The Keystone Research Center recently released a series of short “pension primers” to explain complex details at the heart of the pension debate. Find the complete set of primers at www.keystoneresearch.org/pensions