DeLissio: pensions remain a front-and-center topic in Harrisburg

PHILADELPHIA, June 5 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio announced today she attended two hearings this week on pension reform held by the House State Government Committee, participated in numerous briefings on the topic over the last few months, and has discussed many aspects of the issue at her monthly town halls. 

She said pensions will be closely linked to the unfolding budget debate and released the following statement.

“As I listen to my colleagues and testimony from think tanks, business interests and labor unions, I continue to believe that the previous pension reform legislation, known as Act 120 of 2010, has set us on a path to rectify the fact that the state was deficient in its obligations to fund the two state pension plans (SERS and PSERS) over the past 10 to 15 years,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “The hearings also demonstrated that there may be some additional willingness to further adjust what was accomplished in 2010.

“Act 120 was a long-term fix designed for 20 to 25 years, and at this point there are only five years of results.

“There are a few proposed pieces of legislation, specifically Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 727, which would place new hires – teachers and state employees – into a defined contribution plan versus the current defined benefit plan. The very serious problem with both of these pieces of legislation is that the current unfunded liability would still exist – and that will take a commitment of money to remedy. Act 120 of 2010 does address the unfunded liability.

“As I have said repeatedly, this is a complex issue and the fact that Senate Bill 1, a 410-page bill, was introduced and voted on final passage in the Senate within a five-day window begs the question of how this could be a thoughtful and deliberative process to address such a weighty matter. To put in place a plan that does not address the unfunded liability is not the correct way to approach this matter.

“Even though the House State Government Committee, of which I am a member, held hearings, given the additional information I have heard from experts who were not called to testify, I will advocate that none of these bills is ready for a vote.”