Press Releases

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:19 AM

One of the oddities of this week's public employee pensions debate is how so many of the state's major public sector unions are sitting it out.  They have, after all, reliably opposed most pension reform measures since passage of Act 120 in 2010. Until now, the combined forces of their Democratic and Republican allies in the state House have been just enough to stop other bills in their tracks.  This time?  No pitchforks. Just crickets.  And that, so far at least, is giving more labor-sensitive Republicans and some Democrats license to support the current bill, which passed the state Senate on a 40-9 vote Monday afternoon.  Later Monday, the bail passed a preliminary vote in the House State Government Committee, keeping on course for a final passage vote in that chamber on Thursday.  Major public-sector unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union (both state workers) and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (school teachers), have all agreed to stand silent on this bill.  Only one major union is singing in a different key - the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which sent a letter opposing the bill to lawmakers last Friday.  There appear to be two major reasons for this mass stand-down by organized labor, according to sources familiar with the discussions:

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Source: Penn Live BY CHARLES THOMPSON  cthompson@pennlive.com Updated on June 5, 2017 at 9:19 PM Posted on June 5, 2017 at 5:54 PM.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:13 AM

The Democratic Wolf administration and Republican legislative leaders have overcome deep partisan division with an agreement to do ... well, not much.  Senators conducted a rare Sunday session to advance a supposed pension reform bill that does nothing to reduce the vast amounts of money that the state’s two big and vastly underfunded pension systems will suck out of the state and school district budgets for the next three decades.  After months of secret negotiations among the Republican House and Senate majorities and the Democratic administration, the key question that emerged is: What took so long?  The bill cannot be construed as true reform. The state and school districts will continue to shake down taxpayers to cover the unfunded pension liability at the same rate as now, while shifting any change well into the future, onto people who have not yet been hired by schools or the state government.

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Source: Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JUNE 6, 2017.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:11 AM

Most rookie teachers and newly minted Pennsylvania government employees would see a smaller retirement benefit in the coming decades through the state's two big debt-plagued pension systems, under legislation that passed the Senate on Monday and has the backing of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.  The Republican-controlled Senate's 40-9 vote could be followed by swift House action this week to send the just-unveiled bill to Wolf's desk.  The bill is the product of months of closed-door negotiations and more than four years of Senate Republicans pushing to end or reduce the traditional pension benefit for future state government and public school employees in favor of a 401(k)-style benefit. If it becomes law, it would be the second pension benefits reduction of future employees in eight years, both spurred by a debt tied to the pension benefits of current and retired public employees.  The bill, unveiled Sunday, would create a less expensive and less generous pension benefits structure in the future, while also shifting some risk of investment losses off taxpayers and onto the public employees of tomorrow.

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Source: WESA By MARC LEVY, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1 HOUR AGO June 5, 2017.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 9:58 AM

The state Senate on Monday passed a pension reform bill that would give most future state and school employees three choices for retirement savings, none of them would be exclusively the guaranteed pension plan current employees have.   By a vote of 40-9, the Senate approved the bill that was a product of closed-door negotiations involving the House and Senate Republicans and Democrats and Gov. Tom Wolf's administration.   "This is the medicine that will move us forward in a way that future Legislatures will be proud of," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, during a near hourlong floor discussion of the bill.  Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, said the plan ensures workers will have retirement income that is over 95 percent of their take-home pay when they were working once Social Security income is included.

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Source: Penn Live BY JAN MURPHY   jmurphy@pennlive.com Updated on June 5, 2017 at 4:58 PM Posted on June 5, 2017 at 1:50 PM.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 8:49 AM

School leaders are speaking out against a bill that could limit a school district’s ability to challenge a property assessment and, they say, could cost districts millions in revenue.
Allentown Morning Call, June 5, 2017
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017 8:48 AM

House Bill 1403 and its companion legislation, Senate Bill 709, would end practices that embarrass a child when their family is behind on lunch payments. 
ABC Channel 27, June 5, 2017
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017 8:47 AM

The state Senate voted 40-9 Monday to reform Pennsylvania’s public pension systems by creating hybrid pension plans for new government workers.
Sharon Herald, June 6, 2017
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Monday, June 5, 2017 1:16 PM

Friday, June 2nd was the one year anniversary of the basic education funding formula being signed into law! Thank you @GovernorTomWolf & PA legislature for enacting #FairFundingPA formula a year ago! 1st step to all kids having resources they need. Let’s keep up the fight for significant annual $$$ increases through the formula.

 
Monday, June 5, 2017 12:25 PM

Please Join AFSA, NAESP and NASSP for a National Day of Action on June 14, 2017!

Join the national principals organizations for a coordinated national Day of Action to advocate for the policies that could significantly impact school leaders, principals, and the students they serve.

Click Here for 3 Simple Ways to Participate in Advocacy on June 14.

Click Here for the Letter Sent to the US Senate Appropriations Committee.

Thank you for your continued advocacy in support of Title II, Part A funding under ESSA!

 
Monday, June 5, 2017 9:42 AM

During a rare Sunday evening session of the state Senate, a pension bill that doesn’t appear to save any money for or shift much risk from taxpayers was positioned for a final Senate vote on Monday.
Capitolwire, June 4, 2017
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