Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

The Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday voted along party-lines to move along Senate Bill 1071, the pension reform legislative vehicle, while a compromise amendment continues to languish amid discussions and actuarial analysis.

The bill in its current form reflects Senate Bill 1 as vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in early July.

“It is the intent of the chair to advance this bill forward, given the time that we’re standing in the year and the lengthy process associated with providing for an amendment to the retirement codes, as a means to advance the process forward,” Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) told the committee Tuesday.

He said it is not the intent to advance the provisions of Senate Bill 1 again to the governor, but to use it as a vehicle for an amendment “that is being worked on now, that has been worked on for the last several months as a means to provide for an alternative plan design change, pension changes to be considered by the General Assembly.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
New pension reform bill could reshape the debate over system overhaul

New pension reform bill could reshape the debate over system overhaul

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill) is resurrecting his hybrid pension reform plan that was discussed at length last session, but failed to gain enough support to bring the concept up for a vote on the House floor.

He’s hoping that with the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1 and the vetting of a defined contribution pension reform plan that the time is ripe for this idea to clear the hurdles that were erected in front of his plan last session.

“After that bill in the last session had gone through the process of some agreed-to amendments, this is kind of the product that eventually came out of that effort,” Rep. Tobash told The PLS Reporter. “It’s the growing expectation of Pennsylvania citizens that we accomplish something in this regard.”

He said he hesitated to introduce the plan because multiple viable options would not be productive to the process.

“But with the veto of Senate Bill 1 and two bodies that have exhibited their ability to vote on meaningful pension reform, I think that alternative options at this point in time are helpful to the process,” he added. “It’s an important time to continue and further the conversation."

Thursday, August 6, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Other pension plan sponsors support compromise Senate Bill 1 proposal

Other pension plan sponsors support compromise Senate Bill 1 proposal

While the House is considering a compromise pension reform plan embodied in Senate Bill 1, House sponsors of some of the other pension plans that have received a lot of House attention are in support of the plan though it is not their own.

“I think it’s a good bill,” said Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester) whose House Bill 727 was voted out of the House State Government Committee earlier this session and has awaited Floor action since.

“The main feature—from my perspective—is that we’re going to have a defined contribution plan, a 401(k)-like plan for future hires,” he added, also noting he feels the changes to current employee benefits remaining in the legislation are “reasonable.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Details of House pension plan emerge

House Republicans spent most of Friday morning and early afternoon caucusing on what is likely to be their version of pension reform, to be adopted as an amendment to Senate Bill 1 sometime in the next several days.

Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill), one of the House GOP’s top pension minds and a member of the Public Employee Retirement Commission, spoke to The PLS Reporter about the likely contents of that plan and what was discussed in those caucus discussions.

“I think members continue to be interested in some of the goals we’ve been trying to achieve for the last number of years, namely, shifting some risk from the taxpayer and out of the hands of a legislature that has not been able to manage a defined benefit plan and develop savings and provide some kind of a benefit for new employees coming into the system,” he said.

Friday, June 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House and Senate advance defined contribution pension bills

House and Senate advance defined contribution pension bills

Though different in substance, both the House and Senate were active Tuesday in moving bills designed to dramatically reform Pennsylvania’s state-run public employee pension systems.

Furthest along in the process is Senate Bill 1, the Senate Republican caucus’s pension reform plan that would move new employees to a 401(k)-like pension plan and alter the future benefits of current employees by requiring a higher employee contribution or rolling their defined benefit plan structure back to that of pre-Act 9-levels.

After making its way through the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, the legislation was considered Tuesday morning by the Public Employee Retirement Commission.

There, an actuarial note to the legislation was approved that showed the bill could save anywhere between $8 billion and $18 billion depending on which analysis is used.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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