A state Senate panel approved pension changes for new state hires yesterday, while keeping the current pension system in place for current workers. The amended bill would enroll nearly every state employee hired from January 2015 and public school employees hired after July 2015 in a 401(k) style retirement plan.
State police and correctional officers would be exempted, but elected officials including the governor, legislators, attorney general and judges would be moved to that plan after winning re-election or retention. The panel stripped from the bill a set of changes that would have altered how pension benefits are calculated for future years of service by current employees.
Gov. Corbett called the vote a step toward pension reform and says reforming the system would begin to shift the tax burden off Pennsylvania’s citizens. Another bill, which would also move new hires to a defined contribution plan, has already attracted the support of 26 Republican senators. It cleared the Finance Committee and could see a vote next week. The House is also looking at pension reform but members of the Republican majority have not decided how to proceed.