If approved, the reforms would wave in a new era of defined contribution plans, similar to a 401(k) or 403(b) option. The changes would take effect for all state employees and public school employees hired on or after Dec. 1.
Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County; Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County; Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre County; and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Brubaker, R-Lancaster County, are pushing the shift away from a defined benefit plan.
“A switch to a defined contribution plan will benefit Pennsylvania taxpayers by forcing fiscal discipline,” Corman said in a news release. “Retiree benefits will become predictable and sustainable, costs will be easily defined and future liabilities will be fully funded; it’s an excellent choice prospectively.”
At least one bill on this type of reform was introduced last legislative session by Browne.
The goal of the pending bill, which comes late in the current session, is to generate conversation about the issue, Arneson said. Lawmakers are hopeful the legislation will move forward in the fall, he said.
At the top of the General Assembly’s June agenda is the 2012-13 budget.
The House Appropriations Committee last month passed a Senate-approved $27.7 billion state budget plan, and negotiations are expected to continue this week.
“The budget will not get done this week,” Arneson said. “Good progress is being made, but it’s not ready to go yet.”
The current fiscal year ends June 30.
The Senate continues to work on Senate Bill 1310, a bill proposed by Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, that would address the solvency of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. The fund owes the federal government about $3.8 billion.
SB 1310 would float bonds to pay back the money. The bonds would be paid off with unemployment taxes paid by companies and workers. The legislation is in the Senate Rules Committee.
The House Republican Caucus is slated to hold a caucus policy discussion this week in preparation for floor votes on House Bill 11, a bill from House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County, that would privatize alcohol sales.
The bill was significantly amended during the winter.