Gov. Wolf’s Chief of Staff Kathleen McGinty told the Pennsylvania Press Club Monday Senate members who voted to pass the Senate Republican pension proposal-- Senate Bill 1 (Corman-R-Centre)-- last week “voted to line their own retirement pocket with a payout that is 2.5 times the pension benefit that will be earned by the average employee.
She went on to say, “They also voted to make sure they kept the very generous 2001 pension benefits for themselves but if employees want that they have to pay more or have their pension benefit cut. It’s not fair to employees; it’s not fair to taxpayers.
“Third, it’s literally an embarrassment the idea that we have a bill that repeals the prohibition we have had in place since 2010 in doing business with nefarious players like Iran and Sudan.
“High five to those legislators who resisted the temptation for this very lucrative payout to themselves.”
In response to the next question asked at the event, McGinty said, “I’m not aware of an increasingly sour relationship with the Senate or the House. This governor has built a healthy and strong dialogue.”
Senate Republicans responded to McGinty’s criticisms in a statement saying--
"While she may continue to operate in campaign mode, we in the Senate are attempting to present a plan that would lead to a civil policy dialogue. On one hand McGinty and the administration call Senate Bill 1 bad for employees but on the other hand saying it is a "lavish" benefit for the legislators. It's the same plan for both employees and legislators. The administration can't have it both ways.
"We would be happy to actually hear from the Governor on his thoughts on the plan and have a reasonable policy discussion. We don't legislate with high five's. We do so through thoughtful policy that over the years has strengthened PA's economy, which has an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average.
"The reality is that Senate Bill 1 saves $18.3 billion and the Governor's plan cost the Commonwealth $1 billion. Beyond that, the Governor's plan is currently not permitted under Act 120, which made pension bonds illegal.
"Just like all other employees, the legislators will contribute more in order to maintain their current benefit. If they do not want to pay more, legislators will be placed at the pre-Act 9 levels (2.0 multiplier) as of January 2016.
"However, upon reelection, legislators are moved into a 401(k)-style program. Lawmakers are the only current employees moving to this kind of program.
"As far as saying 4 percent (SERS) is higher than 2.59 percent(PSERS), it is. These are two separate systems with two different sets of normal costs – it has been this way since before Act 9 of 2001. The benefits are different based upon the costs of the system – Senate Bill 1 does not represent a change there. The numbers in the bill represent the normal cost – what labor and McGinty claim is the true cost to Commonwealth for the Act 120 plan and operating the systems.
"Iran/Syria:Current law (Act 44 of 2010), prohibits and remains in effect. Senate Bill 1 is in compliance with that and mirrors the policy with all public funds.
"We cannot impose the act on third party private providers (let's say the board picks Vanguard to provide DC member plans) but the board can impose that providers (in this example Vanguard) only offer products that comply with the Act 44 of 2010. None of the prohibitions in Act 44 have been repealed."
NewsClips:Lawmakers Out For Themselves, Wolf Charges