HARRISBURG, June 12, 2017 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding the state pension systems reform contained in Senate Bill 1 that was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf this afternoon.
“I commend my colleagues in the legislature and Governor Wolf for the bipartisan work done to facilitate a five-party agreement for significant pension reform. Senate Bill 1 starts the correction of our broken pension systems and begins to shift risk off of taxpayers by introducing the public sector equivalent of a 401k for future employee benefits, but it does not go far enough.”
“Senate Bill 1 does not affect existing employees or those already receiving a state pension and it does not add to our unfunded liability. There are, however, reform proposals that could have had much greater, immediate and long-term impact than the $1.4 billion savings over 30 years projected for Senate Bill 1. There are also near-term costs associated with the implementation of Senate Bill 1 and none of the projected savings will begin to be realized for another 20 years.”
“As the Democratic Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I remain disappointed that many other good ideas which could have had a much more substantive impact on our Commonwealth’s finances – both with respect to our General Fund deficit and our daunting unfunded pension liabilities – were not adequately considered in the debate on this particular bill. This pension reform is only the start of the correction. We cannot consider our work concluded unless and until we seriously begin to address the $70 billion in unfunded liability and find ways to provide relief to our school districts whose budgets continue to be overwhelmed by these legacy costs.”
Video of Senator Blake’s floor remarks on Senate Bill 1 are available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riWNBPZPj_E
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