HARRISBURG – Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20th District, issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage today of Senate Bill 1, which addresses pension reform:
“This reform plan is a substantial step toward reestablishing pension fund stability. By supporting change, we recognize that the existing pension structure overburdens taxpayers without relief in sight. Most analysts have come to the conclusion there is no longer any reasonable possibility that the two systems can produce earnings sufficient to correct a decade and a half of serious underfunding of public pensions.
There are several compelling reasons for changing the structure of the statewide pension systems for state workers and educators. There is the well-documented problem of the considerable unfunded liability, and the consequent budget distress caused by rising required contributions. There is the sharp contrast with the benefits available under most prevailing pension plans for private sector workers. And there is the growing trend of increasing mobility on the part of modern workers.
As currently structured, the two pension systems are unsustainable. Without corrective action, state services will be diminished while local property taxes will continue to rise. That status quo ill serves Pennsylvania.
The pension problem is so large that no set of solutions is easy, quick, or inexpensive. This plan strikes a better balance between the taxpayer interest and the benefits of public service, limiting taxpayer risk and reining in costs to the degree possible under law and the principles of fairness.”
Andrew M. Seder