Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Pa. trying to deal with looming pension pain, sorta

Amidst the back-and-forth over when the state will pass its budget and what will be in it, Harrisburg lawmakers are also working on another fiscal problem, one with perhaps bigger ramifications: Public sector pension plans. The state House voted yesterday to make some big changes to Pa's pension system. Some of those changes are concrete reductions of benefits, such as smaller pension checks and a higher retirement age. But it also includes delaying some costs to taxpayers (there was going to be a big bump in 2012) by limiting the amount of any single year's increase. We're not entirely sure what to make of this yet -- whether this delay is a responsible reaction to the fact that these are difficult fiscal times, and it makes sense to postpone some payments until times are better, or whether it's just a typical kick-the-can-down-the-road maneuver that seeks to dump a problem in someone else's lap. Any thoughts are welcome.

Pa. trying to deal with looming pension pain, sorta

Amidst the back-and-forth over when the state will pass its budget and what will be in it, Harrisburg lawmakers are also working on another fiscal problem, one with perhaps bigger ramifications: Public sector pension plans.

The state House voted yesterday to make some big changes to Pa's pension system. Some of those changes are concrete reductions of benefits, such as smaller pension checks and a higher retirement age.

But it also includes delaying some costs to taxpayers (there was going to be a big bump in 2012) by limiting the amount of any single year's increase.

We're not entirely sure what to make of this yet -- whether this delay is a responsible reaction to the fact that these are difficult fiscal times, and it makes sense to postpone some payments until times are better, or whether it's just a typical kick-the-can-down-the-road maneuver that seeks to dump a problem in someone else's lap. Any thoughts are welcome.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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