Scarnati: Senate Working Toward Pension Reform

HARRISBURG – The State Senate has recently passed bi-partisan legislation to begin reforming Pennsylvania’s pension system by moving members of the General Assembly and other statewide elected officials to a defined contribution plan, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati explained that last month the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 922, which takes an important first step to move all elected officials, including members of the General Assembly, out of a defined benefit public pension plan to remove this financial burden from taxpayers.

“Reforming public pension benefits is an important goal that Senate Republicans have been engaged in throughout the current legislative session,” Scarnati said. “Leading by example is what Pennsylvania residents expect and deserve from their elected officials.”

The amended version of Senate Bill 922, which was approved in a historic vote by the full Senate, would remove members of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the judiciary from the current defined benefit pension plan. The bill would create a defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k) plan for legislators, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Auditor General, and Treasurer upon re-election, as well as the judiciary upon retention.

“Recently the governor has been traveling across our Commonwealth to speak with Pennsylvania residents about the need for pension reform,” Scarnati stated. “I appreciate that the governor shares our concern for the long-term sustainability of our Commonwealth’s pension systems, and look forward to sitting down with him to proactively work as a team to solve this problem.”

Scarnati noted that Members of the Senate decided to change their own pensions first, before asking others to make changes to their plans. If changes are to be made to the retirement system for state employees, then those that vote for those changes should be held to the same standard.

“This issue did not arise overnight and requires that we work together to enact responsible pension reform in a strategic manner,” Scarnati said. “I am very pleased to work with my colleagues in the Senate to take the first steps to address the long-term sustainability of the state’s public employee pension systems.”

Senate Bill 922 is currently before the House Finance Committee.

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