– Recognizing the fiscal difficulties that would be caused by increasing retirement benefits for state employees and teachers who retired before July 1, 2001, Rep. Marla Brown (R-Lawrence) issued the following statement in reaction to a vote by the House to advance House Bill 1416
“I voted ‘no’ on the $1.8 billion cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) pension increase for a long-time retired school and state employees who left employment prior to 2001.
“House Bill 1416 would cause fiscal difficulties and you, the taxpayer, would have to pay the bill. The current unfunded liability of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employee Retirement System (SERS) is $60 billion and this would be an addition to that. School districts would also have to increase school property taxes to fund the COLA. Our hard-working taxpayers cannot afford to pay more.
“Most of our constituents only get Social Security. A PSERS or SERS pension with no COLA in many years still provides significantly higher incomes than most of our constituents who only get Social Security.
“We need to fund the state’s pension funds wisely. There must be a clear, honest and stable source of funding to provide to our deserving teaching and state employees, not risky private equity and not a tax increase on everyone’s homes.
“I have an obligation to my constituents and all Pennsylvanians to protect their finances, so I cannot vote ‘yes’ to risk the state finances and put taxpayers on the hook to pay even more.