State Pensions http://wesa.fm en How the Rate of Return Affects State Public Pension Debt http://wesa.fm/post/how-rate-return-affects-state-public-pension-debt <p>The state owes about $50 billion to its two public pension funds, which pay out retirement benefits to state and public school employees.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />But the debt would be larger if one little figure were adjusted: the rate of return.<br /><br />It’s what the pension funds assume they’ll make on investments. The higher it is, the less the commonwealth must pay up front for retirement benefits.<br /> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Mary Wilson 35084 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-touts-tobashs-pension-reform-plan-shaler-township <p>Less than a week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett ended the <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/explaining-governor-corbetts-budget-battle">budget standoff</a> with the state Legislature, he’s setting a new deadline for <a href="http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-withholds-signature-budget-pension-overhaul">pension reform</a>: election season.</p><p>Corbett was in Shaler Township Monday afternoon pushing an overhaul of the public pension system, which he said is necessary to help struggling school districts and stem the wave of rising property taxes.</p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:34:04 +0000 Liz Reid 32616 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Touts Tobash's Pension Reform Plan in Shaler Township PA House Leader Leaves Door Open to Defer Pension Payments http://wesa.fm/post/pa-house-leader-leaves-door-open-defer-pension-payments <p>The Pennsylvania House Majority Leader isn’t ruling out a move to trim the state’s scheduled payments toward its pension debt.</p><p>“There’s not an appetite to reduce the collars (scheduled payments) in the House,” said Representative Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), as he stressed the need for an overhaul to pension benefits for future employees.</p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:00:46 +0000 Mary Wilson 30425 at http://wesa.fm State Pension Beat: Of Debt And Design Changes http://wesa.fm/post/state-pension-beat-debt-and-design-changes <p>Democratic and Republican state lawmakers differ as to whether it matters that a plan to change pension benefits doesn't take a big bite out of the massive debt the state has already accrued.<br /><br />The Republican plan to change pension benefits for future state and school employees would bring savings — just not the kind that would help the state pay off pension debt much faster than existing law requires.<br /> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:55:39 +0000 Mary Wilson 30225 at http://wesa.fm Pension Overhaul Plan Could Save $11B For State Over 30 Years, Actuary Says http://wesa.fm/post/pension-overhaul-plan-could-save-11b-state-over-30-years-actuary-says <p>House lawmakers have the actuarial analysis they need to start collecting votes on a measure to overhaul the state’s pension plans.<br /><br />A state commission central to the debate over changing public pension benefits in Pennsylvania says its consulting actuary finds that the amended House proposal would save more than $11 billion for the commonwealth over a 30-year span.<br /> Thu, 29 May 2014 11:06:36 +0000 Mary Wilson 30034 at http://wesa.fm PA Auditor General to Governor: Fully Fund Pensions, Cut Corporate Tax Breaks http://wesa.fm/post/pa-auditor-general-governor-fully-fund-pensions-cut-corporate-tax-breaks <p>Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said at a news conference Monday that he’ll soon begin an audit of the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.</p><p>DePasquale said he’s looking for subsidies and tax breaks for corporations that don’t positively impact middle class job growth. He said the state should eliminate such subsidies and tax credits before touching “one dime” of public employee pension funds.</p> Tue, 04 Feb 2014 13:01:37 +0000 Liz Reid 23832 at http://wesa.fm Scarnati Calls for Action on Public Pension Overhaul http://wesa.fm/post/scarnati-calls-action-public-pension-overhaul <p>The state Senate president pro tem is beginning his eighth year with a call to action for some kind of public pension system overhaul.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />Sen. Joe Scarnati, a Republican of Jefferson County, has been re-elected unanimously to his position. &nbsp;<br /><br />In his first address to the Senate this year, he said the budget outlook demands lawmakers grapple with rising public pension costs.<br /><br />"The choices we need to make will be many but the largest cost and growth in next year’s budget will be pension cost and we need to make choices," Scarnati said.<br /> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 21:20:06 +0000 Mary Wilson 22486 at http://wesa.fm State Government Reform Activists Update Research on 2005 Pay Raise http://wesa.fm/post/state-government-reform-activists-update-research-2005-pay-raise <p>State government reform activists are pointing to their annual update on the costs of Legislature-approved increases to their benefits as an illustration of why pension reform efforts are doomed.<br><br>Eric Epstein, founder of the group Rock the Capital, said the late-night pay raise lawmakers approved for themselves in 2005 has inspired the most ire among voters, but it's not the most costly thing lawmakers have done to boost their own benefits in the past 20 years.<br> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Mary Wilson 12935 at http://wesa.fm The Pennsylvania Pension Crisis: How Did We Get Here? http://wesa.fm/post/pennsylvania-pension-crisis-how-did-we-get-here <p></p><p>Gov. Tom Corbett and his allies in the state Legislature have introduced controversial legislation to reform the pension systems for state employees and public school teachers.</p><p>The sponsors say the bills make necessary cuts to reduce the state’s massive liability problem. Unions argue that the measures are illegal because they cut current workers’ future benefits. Thu, 16 May 2013 23:48:28 +0000 Heather McClain 9643 at http://wesa.fm The Pennsylvania Pension Crisis: How Did We Get Here? The Makings of Pennsylvania's Pension Funding Crisis http://wesa.fm/post/makings-pennsylvanias-pension-funding-crisis <p>Gov. Tom Corbett and his allies in the state Legislature have introduced controversial legislation to reform the pension systems for state employees and public school teachers.</p><p>The sponsors say the bills make necessary cuts to reduce the state’s massive liability problem. Unions argue that the measures are illegal because they cut current workers’ future benefits.</p><p>To get a handle on how Pennsylvania’s two public pensions ended up in their current funding crisis, one has to look more than a decade into the past.</p><p><strong>A Big Commitment </strong></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 10:16:42 +0000 Noah Brode 9554 at http://wesa.fm The Makings of Pennsylvania's Pension Funding Crisis Three Months Later, Corbett's Pension Plan Takes Shape in Legislation http://wesa.fm/post/three-months-later-corbetts-pension-plan-takes-shape-legislation <p>State House and Senate lawmakers have stepped up to sponsor legislation to advance the governor’s plan to overhaul the state’s two pension systems.<br> Wed, 08 May 2013 10:18:23 +0000 Mary Wilson 9171 at http://wesa.fm Corbett Administration Expects State Pension Proposals to Withstand Court Challenge http://wesa.fm/post/corbett-administration-expects-state-pension-proposals-withstand-court-challenge <p>The Corbett administration says proposed changes to state pensions will ultimately withstand a court challenge because they can be proven to serve the public good.<br><br>One piece of the governor’s plan would reduce future unearned benefits of current state and school district employees.<br><br>Public sector unions have promised a court battle if the change is signed into law, saying it would be struck down for breaching the state’s contract with workers.<br> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 19:42:39 +0000 Mary Wilson 6884 at http://wesa.fm