Pa. House passes bill to overhaul public pension systems

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has sent Gov. Tom Wolf legislation to overhaul benefits in the state’s largest public pension systems.

The House approved Senate Bill 1 on Thursday by a vote of 143 to 53.

Supporters say the legislation will strengthen the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System by requiring new state or school district employees hired in 2019 or later to participate in one of three new pension plans. Each would offer a defined contribution component, similar to a 401(k) plan.

The bill does not affect retired employees and exempts state police, corrections officers, and other law enforcement. Current employees may opt in to a new plan or continue in their current plan.

Supporters say the plan will reduce future risk to taxpayers. Opponents say it doesn’t go far enough to reduce the state’s pension debt, now at more than $60 billion.

The measure passed the Senate 40-9 on Monday. Wolf says he supports it.

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