Wolf promises to work with House and Senate for state pension reform

As statewide pension reform remains a serious issue in the Legislature, the governor has promised to work toward a compromise with the House and Senate.

State Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Loyalsock Township, said negotiations currently are underway between the House, Senate and Gov. Tom Wolf.

“We need to get something that all three can agree on,” Wheeland said. “Everybody knows that it’s a serious issue.”

A statement from Wolf’s office said he “looks forward to continuing to work with the House and Senate on a compromise pension reform bill that can pass both chambers and get to his desk.”

The governor said he is committed to a solution, and added that he wants to focus on reducing the debt, long-term costs to taxpayers, while also providing retirement security for teachers, nurses and other employees.

A 2016 study conducted by the House Republican Caucus found that the state and public school retirement systems had an accrued liability of over $56.78 billion.

“We’ve got to get this thing reconciled,” Wheeland said, adding that the first step should be to first stop accruing more debt and change the pension system for new hires.

“Stop digging and then figure out how to get out of the hole,” Wheeland said.

Wheeland said a pension bill has not yet been brought before the House, but he said he expects the bill to appear closer to May and play a part in this year’s budget conversation.

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