Corbett Announces Renewed Attack On Pensions

This morning, Governor Corbett held a news conference with the prime sponsors of his pension proposal, which mirrors what he outlined three months ago in his budget address.  He announced his push to pass the bills proposed by State Senator Mike Brubaker, (R-Lancaster) and State Representative Chris Ross, (R-Chester).

Senate Bill 922, introduced by Senator Brubaker, and House Bill 1350, introduced by Representative Ross, will cut pensions and further delay the increased employer contributions needed to repay the unfunded liabilities.  These bills will have the following effects:

  • Reducing the future accrued benefits of current employees, impacting school teachers, nurses, public service workers, police officers and other first responders, among others.  Such a change to the benefits of current employees is clearly unconstitutional.
  • Establishes yet another payment holiday, further delaying the inevitable and additional spike in payments which will ultimately have to be addressed by future Governors should this law be passed.
  • Forces new hires into a less secure 401-k type retirement plan.  Compared to our current pension system, this defined contribution plan will nearly double the costs for taxpayers.

Security outside the entrance of the Press Conference restricted attendance to reporters, lawmakers, key legislative staff and stakeholders. By design, only one-sided allies of the Governor.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, along with  representatives of “non-invited key stakeholders,” were forced to wait outside the Governor’s reception room at the State Capitol. They were not allowed into the room, in spite of representing the very workers that Corbett is attacking with his expensive and misguided ‘reform’ legislation. “This is not a solution to a problem. It has nothing to do with good public policy or transparency. Just bad politics.” Snyder said outside the meeting.

“I can’t imagine why the Governor is proposing legislation that he must know is unconstitutional, and that will add an additional and unnecessary economic burden to taxpayers with a costly legal challenge. The bottom line is this  – workers never took a “holiday” from their obligation and payment; and this issue has been previously addressed, in a bipartisan manner, through Act 120. I say let Act 120 work, just as it was designed to, and stop creating a false hysteria,” Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said. “The overall crisis with secure pensions in Pennsylvania is, not enough workers have them,” added Bloomingdale.

The Keystone Research Center and AARP are holding a State Employee Pension Legislative Briefing for State Representatives and State Senators in Room 60 in the East Wing of the State Capitol tomorrow morning from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM.

Presenters include: Sarah Mysiewicz, AARP; Diane Oakley, National Institute on Retirement Security; and Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center.