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Lancaster County House Republican Delegation Supports Taxpayer Savings to be Generated by Pension Reform
HARRISBURG – The Lancaster County House Republican Delegation this afternoon voted for forward momentum in protecting taxpayers from rising property taxes and safeguarding retirement benefits earned by current retirees and employees in the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). The public pension reform measure would create a hybrid 401(k)-style and cash balance plan only for future state and school employees who first begin service on Jan. 1, 2018, or July 1, 2018, respectively.

Under Senate Bill 1071, the first $50,000 of an employee’s salary would be in the traditional pension system. Any amount of salary beyond $50,000 would be covered through a 401(k) plan.

State Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl) issued the following statement following the floor vote on the budget proposal:

“Without reform, the current unfunded liability of more than $56 billion will only continue to grow, further jeopardizing pensions for those who have earned them and putting taxpayers at risk.

“Increasing pension costs have required many of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts to turn to taxpayers. After applying for exceptions to raise property taxes – more than 99 percent of the exemptions approved in the 2014-15 budget year were the result of pension obligations – taxpayers get hit with bigger bills.

“Taxpayers are also at risk as a result of the Commonwealth’s failure to make required pension payments. The state’s fiscal stability has been compromised because of credit bond rating reductions, requiring the state to borrow at higher interest rates, which also results in the men and women of Pennsylvania bearing greater financial burdens.

“The legislation is anticipated to produce a savings in excess of $5 billion in the long term, which will then be dedicated to the unfunded liability. As savings begin to grow over time, taxpayers will have better protection against the strain of property tax increases.

“As the combined plan reduces the doubt and stress currently felt by teachers and state employees, the pension reform measure would also provide a predictable pension benefit and allow participants to have greater control over their investments by utilizing any of at least 10 investment options.

“Of course, while this measure would reform costs going forward, the unfunded liability must still be paid. We would prefer to see a bill go much further in reforming public pensions, but just like last week’s change in liquor sales, this is at least one small step in the right direction. It is progress, and progress is sorely needed.”

As Senate Bill 1071 was passed in the House, it now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Alison Evans
[email protected]
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