Senate Republicans fast-tracking pension cuts before full review

HARRISBURG – Today, the independent actuary hired by the state to review Senate Bill 1 – the pension overhaul bill – revealed that Senate leaders did not give them time to read the bill or review all of the facts.

Senate Republicans introduced the convoluted and complex 400-page bill late Friday. Despite denying experts the necessary time to review their proposal, they intend to ram the bill through the legislative process this week.

In a letter to the Public Employees Retirement Commission (PERC), Milliman Associates, stated:

Due to time constraints dictated by the Commission…we are providing this letter without a complete review of all facets of the legislation nor all actuarial cost projection information used by the system actuaries in their analyses. We are disclosing that the time available for preparing this letter was insufficient to perform a complete review and thus, this letter should be considered preliminary in nature

Due to the lack of time available to complete this preliminary letter, we did not read the entire Bill nor include all of the provisions contained in the Bill.

Following this extraordinary admission by the state’s actuary, Gabe Morgan, President of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council President and Pennsylvania director of SEIU 32BJ, Neal Bisno, Secretary-Treasurer of the State Council and President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, and Tom Herman, President of SEIU Local 668, issued the following statement:

“The warning of independent actuaries should stop this bill dead in its tracks. If the financial experts hired by the state haven’t even read the bill or reviewed all of the facts, then how can the Senate vote on this complicated and convoluted plan? The Senate gives more careful attention to naming a bridge than this proposal to cut the retirement benefits of public workers by two-thirds.

“Any cost savings in Senate Bill 1 are generated from cuts to current worker benefits – cuts that are unconstitutional. Just last week, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a similar law for breaking a contract with nurses, teachers and other public servants.

“We must remember that state and school employees did not create the pension debt. Their employers did by siphoning off contributions to workers’ retirement. It’s time for Senate leaders to stop using workers as pawns in their political games. They should work with Gov. Wolf to restore our schools, create good jobs and pass a budget that works for working families.

 

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