Senate passes pension and budget legislation

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A $30.8 billion spending bill and legislation to scale back benefits in Pennsylvania’s two mammoth public-sector pension systems are through the Senate and headed to the House, where they face an uncertain future amid efforts to end a 5-month-old stalemate.

The budget bill passed, 43-7, on Monday, receiving wide bipartisan support. The pension legislation passed, 38-12.

Both documents passed the Republican-controlled Senate less than 24 hours after becoming public.

Wolf, a Democrat, has agreed to sign the Senate legislation after securing an agreement to raises taxes to deliver a record boost in aid to public schools and narrow a long-term budget deficit.

Senate Republicans say the pension legislation will lessen taxpayer risk by introducing a 401(k)-style plan component. It also scales back benefits for current employees, prompting a union lawsuit threat.

However, the Senate hasn’t settled on a tax package to support the spending, and its House fate remains uncertain, where Republicans could advance their own plan later Monday.

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