Jun. 30, 2015

HARRISBURG – Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks) today voted with a majority of his House colleagues to send bills that would reform Pennsylvania’s pension and state-store systems to the governor for his signature.

“The General Assembly today sent two historic, pro-taxpayer reforms to the governor that would move Pennsylvania forward into the 21st century,” Staats said. “The governor should show that he stands for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers and sign these bills into law.”

Senate Bill 1 would restructure Pennsylvania’s public school and state employee pension systems to save taxpayers more than $10 billion over 30 years. The plan takes steps to shift away from taxpayers the risk associated with having to fund the state’s growing unfunded pension liability, which totals more than $50 billion, while helping to ensure that past, present and future workers are able to enjoy a fair and competitive retirement benefit.

The plan would not affect current retirees’ benefits. Current public school and state employees would largely keep their current pension plans; however, their final average salary would be calculated in a manner intended to prevent artificial spiking of retirement compensation, and the portion of lump sum retirement payments derived from future service would be adjusted to eliminate an interest rate bonus provided under current law. The legislation does not affect state police, state law enforcement officers and corrections officers.

All House and Senate members would move to a hybrid 401(k)-style and cash balance plan upon election or re-election. New state employees first hired on or after July 1, 2016, would also be provided with hybrid 401(k)-style and cash balance plans.

“While current retirees would maintain all benefits that they have already earned, this plan would put our state’s pension systems on affordable and sustainable paths forward so that state and public school employees can continue earning the secure retirements they deserve,” Staats said.

The House also concurred on the Senate’s changes to House Bill 466, which would gradually remove government from the sale of wine and spirits.

The proposal would create enhanced wine and liquor permits granting restaurant and hotel licensees the ability to sell wine and liquor to go, with existing beer distributors having six months to obtain wine and liquor permits to sell wine and liquor to go. The number of available permits would be based on the current number of licensed distributors in a county. After six months, any remaining permits not obtained by existing beer distributors would be offered to the general public through auction.

“Pennsylvania is one of only two states that maintain full control of the wholesale and retail sales of wine and spirits. Public opinion polls continually show that Pennsylvanians want to move away from our current Prohibition-era system. This proposal accomplishes that by granting consumers their desire for greater choice and convenience,” Staats said.

Representative Craig Staats
145th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jonathan Anzur
RepStaats.net / Facebook.com/RepStaats