Pension Proposal Politically Motivated, Unconstitutional, Tartaglione Says
HARRISBURG, May 13, 2015 – With billions of retirement and tax dollars at stake, state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today blasted the new Senate Republican proposal for pension reform saying the unconstitutional bill has not been properly vetted by the public.
“We are $53 billion in arrears with our two public pension systems because of bad decisions that also were made behind closed doors,” Sen. Tartaglione said today. “Now we are rushing a proposal that promises to make improvements but really only threatens the Golden Years of state employees and teachers who have dedicated their lives to Pennsylvania and its residents.”
Tartaglione said it is wrong that Senate Bill 1 was coalesced behind closed doors as a more than 400-page piece of legislation that was then rushed to the Senate floor for a rubber stamp of a vote.
The veteran Democratic Philadelphia lawmaker voted against Senate Bill 1 yesterday when it was considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and she voted against it today when the full Senate brought it to the floor for consideration.
On top of the lack of transparency and breakneck speed in moving SB 1, Tartaglione said majority Republicans are forgetting that these kinds of proposals by states that are looking to save money on the backs of workers who are not at fault for their decisions have been deemed unconstitutional by those states’ supreme courts.
“Unconstitutional, in this case, means we are breaking a contract with state employees and teachers who have regularly made automatic monthly payments for their own retirement,” the senator said. “And they have been making those payments based on the terms of a legal agreement they and the commonwealth accepted together.
“One of the most egregious elements of this Republican proposal is how it would decimate the retirements of thousands of teachers – the very same teachers who taught many of the lawmakers who are now rushing to make bad, unjust and wrong decisions,” she said.
One analysis found that the total savings of SB 1 for the commonwealth would be $3.3 billion over the next 33 years; $2.6 billion for school districts.
“That so-called savings means state employees are going to lose a lot of money and peace of mind because of a bad bill that will deliver hardly any relief for our troubled pension systems,” Sen. Tartaglione said.