Emrick: Pension Crisis Will Be Addressed
State Rep. Joe Emrick states at Forks Township legislative breakfast that the pension crisis will be addressed by next year.
It's one of the biggest issues state legislators are grappling with, but state Rep. Joe Emrick said the pension crisis will be handled.
"The pension crisis will be addressed by next year," Emrick told a group of residents who attended his legislative breakfast at the Forks Diner recently.
Emrick said that 21 freshman representatives sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett on April 4 seeking an end to the crisis.
"The pension crisis is still looming with state workers and teachers unions," he said. We're $40 billion in debt. There's no way we can fix it financially. It's a big problem."
He said that Corbett had no intention of addressing the issue until legislators began making a push in their letter.
"But this crisis must be addressed and it must be addressed now," Emrick said.
The letter states that public pension plans, SERS and PSERS, are underfunded by more than the entire state budget in any given year.
"We must make sure that this crisis never happens again," the legislators say in the letter.
They propose creating a mandatory defined contribution plan for all future hires in those two systems. They say creating the plan will prevent taxpayers from having to bail out the retirement plan for reasons beyond their control: benefit hikes, plan underfunding and stock market declines.
"We will work with you to come up with a plan that makes sense for the taxpayers of our Commonwealth," the letter states. "The solutions to the pension problem will need the force and integrity of the Governor's Office. We know the taxpayer is with us. We hope you will join us."