House Approves Comprehensive Retirement Systems Improvement and Consolidation Package
HARRISBURG – Efforts to reform and secure Pennsylvania’s pension system moved forward today when the House unanimously approved three bills by State Government Chairman Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming/Union) and Reps. Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland) and Lou Schmitt (R-Blair).

“It is vital that we continue to manage government responsibly during these uncertain times,” Everett said. “This package of bills fully funds the statewide pension systems, which is one of our most costly government services, and ensures that taxpayers will be protected from future tax hikes and other extreme measures. Our budget will be strained this year due to the governor’s excessive shutdown mandates and we must take all necessary precautions to get us on a better path.”

The legislation, House Bills 1961, 1962 and 1963, are the result of the Public Pension Management and Asset Investment Review Commission’s report on the operations of the Commonwealth’s statewide pension systems. As part of the study the commission made several recommendations to improve the system, save taxpayers money and protect investments.

Schmitt’s House Bill 1961 would require the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) to prepare a report on its investment performance data for the period of July 1 through June 30 of each year. This report will be in addition to any other reports SERS currently prepares. The Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) currently prepares investment performance data on the same basis.

“This legislation will allow policymakers, pension plan members and beneficiaries, and the public to better compare investment performance between our two statewide pension system, as well as among other systems across the nation,” Schmitt said.

House Bill 1962, sponsored by Keefer, would require SERS’ and PSERS’ actuary to perform an annual stress test which includes a scenario analysis, a simulation analysis and a sensitivity analysis.

“My bill ensures that SERS and PSERS stress testing will include scenario, sensitivity and simulation analyses that will be useful to policymakers as we consider the impact of potential economic and fiscal factors on the pension systems and state budgets,” Keefer said.

Everett’s House Bill 1963 would remove language from the State Employees’ Retirement Code and the Public School Employees’ Retirement Code to make it clearly known that contribution collars are no longer in effect and ensure that the Commonwealth pays the annual required contribution each year.

For years, the Legislature has ensured that the statewide pension systems are fully funded in each budget. Everett’s bill codifies the Republican initiative.

The comprehensive package of bills comes on the heels of pension reform, which took effect last year, that saw all new employees moved to 401(k)-style retirement plans. In addition, the General Assembly has made great strides in recent years in paying off its pension unfunded liability.

House Bills 1961, 1962 and 1963 now go to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Dawn Keefer
Representative Louis Schmitt
Representative Garth D. Everett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Greg Gross