Rep Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Since I first took office, I have been pushing to reform the state employee’s pension system. I thought it would be interesting to readers if I provide a brief history. During my first term, I co-sponsored and was an advocate for House Bill 922 which was a companion bill to Sen. Brubaker's Senate Bill. This would have simple done what the overwhelming majority of businesses had done to reform their pension over the past several decades. We would honor all public service employees benefits accumulated to a date certain. At that point all employees would be placed in a 401k style pension. It was extremely disappointing to me that this reform could not gather the necessary support in the House.
In an effort to compromise, we changed the proposal and presented House Bill. This took all new employees plus elected officials and placed them in a 401k style pension system. Fortunately, this passed both the House and the Senate. When it was sent to the governor for signature, he vetoed it. With the realization that this reform was not an option with our Governor, the House came up with yet another reform. This reform would have reduced the pension benefit for new hires plus cap that benefit. To supplement the defined benefit for compensation over $50,000, the employee would be provided a 401k style benefit. Even that proposal fell short of votes at the end of last session.
While I believe the very first option is the only option that can make a major dent in the pension problem, I supported all three proposal to get the ball moving down the field. You can be sure that I will be advocating again this session for major pension reform. Every day the decision to reform is delayed creates a weaker pension system and a larger problem for Pennsylvania.