McGinnis Pushes for More Action on Pennsylvania’s Pension Crisis
HARRISBURG – Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair) today joined other pension reform advocates at a Capitol news conference to urge the General Assembly to continue working on addressing Pennsylvania’s public pension crisis.


The event also marked the third anniversary of the public awareness campaign of retired state employee Barry Shutt, which includes a digital clock located in the East Wing Rotunda that displays the updated unfunded liability of the Commonwealth’s two pension systems.

“Despite the passage of Act 5 in June, which will change pension plans for state employees hired after 2018, the pension debt clock continues to tick,” said McGinnis. “When Barry began his efforts three years ago, the pension debt stood at $57 billion. Since then, it has grown to nearly $76 billion, by latest estimates. That’s $17 million dollars of debt each and every day that is being placed on future taxpayers, which is an ongoing act of egregious generational theft.”

Shutt brought a cake to the news conference in observance of the anniversary, and to make a point.

“What better way than to draw a parallel to Marie Antoinette, who just before the French Revolution is alleged to have said, ‘Let them eat cake!’ when she was told the people could not afford to buy bread,” Shutt told reporters. “To that end, the governor, leaders of the House and Senate, and legislators on both sides of the aisle are saying to future generations of Pennsylvanians, ‘Let them eat cake!’ by their refusal to begin paying down the unfunded pension liability.”

“The pension cake is high in fat, low in nutritional value and layered with bad investments, poor public policy and rudderless leadership,” said Eric Epstein of Rock the Capitol. “The cake is filled with political lard, sweet investment fees and then topped off with the empty pockets of Pennsylvania’s grandchildren.”

According to McGinnis, the consequences of the crisis in the near term include more than $4 billion in pension expenses this fiscal year, but even that amount is insufficient to stop the growth of pension debt and will make for growing problems with future budgets. He pointed out that Pennsylvania remains on track for “D-Day” in 15 years, when state pension funds are fully depleted and every dollar paid to retirees will have to come out of the General Fund.

“Since that might consume as much as 40 percent of the General Fund in perpetuity, this is a very scary scenario,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis is the prime sponsor of legislation that eliminates the pension debt over a 20-year period, beginning with a real reduction in the debt in year one of the plan. House Bill 778 has been referred to the House State Government Committee for consideration.

“Time is running out. The sooner we act the better,” McGinnis stated. “We have got to remain focused on this issue and not let Act 5 be our final effort to solve the problem.”

Representative John McGinnis
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
717.260.6474 /

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