Press Releases

For Immediate Release
October 31, 2016

For more information, contact
Tricia Harris, tharris@pachamber.org | 717.720.5447

State Business Groups Urge General Assembly to Return to Harrisburg, Vote on Critical Pension Reform Bill

HARRISBURG - HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr, Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Dennis Yablonsky and Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia President and CEO Rob Wonderling issued the following statement regarding potential legislative action on S.B. 1071, a compromise pension reform proposal that would implement a hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan for all new state and public school employees:

 

“We urge the House and Senate to return to session following the General Election and get this critical pension reform bill to the governor’s desk. Comprehensive pension reform is long overdue and needs to be enacted now. With an unfunded liability that is expected to balloon beyond $60 billion this year, the state’s unsustainable pension systems have been the driving force behind multiple recent credit rating downgrades. Sixty cents of every new dollar in state revenue goes toward pension obligations, which means that the state and school districts are losing a larger share each year of budget expenditures that could be going toward other important state programs, including classroom-focused education funding. Failure to act on the pension reform bill, which has been a No. 1 priority for legislative leaders, business advocacy groups and taxpayers, would only put Pennsylvania down a path to fiscal disaster.” 

 

“As the Commonwealth’s largest cost driver, the pension crisis poses the biggest threat to Pennsylvania’s long-term fiscal stability by putting employers and working families statewide at risk of tax increases – not only on the state level but on the local level as well. As school districts throughout the state grapple with growing pension costs, the threat of higher property taxes increases. If lawmakers don’t act now, taxpayers will continue to assume the bulk of the risk of growing pension costs. This will chase economic opportunity out of Pennsylvania, hurting our ability to compete and limiting our growth in the years to come. Moving toward a shared-risk style retirement system will begin to shift the risk away from taxpayers and help to ensure the long-term viability of the systems going forward. This will protect retiree benefits and the sustainability of the pension plans for current and future state and public school employees. We urge the General Assembly to quickly get the compromise pension bill to the governor’s desk when they reconvene next month for the final days of the 2015-16 session.”

 

 

For more information, contact

 

PA Chamber: Tricia Harris, 717.720.5447

 

Allegheny Conference: Philip Cynar, 412.281.4783 ext 4573

 

Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: Liz Ferry, 215.790.3794

 

 

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Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.