Panel’s funding predicament could delay review of plan for Pa. pension changes

As Pennsylvania House Republicans work to find votes for a bill to overhaul public pension benefits, one opponent says there’s another problem down the road.

Several necessary amendments to the proposal are legally required to be analyzed by PERC — the Pennsylvania Employee Retirement Commission, said Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland.

But PERC has run out of funding.

And Grell said no one is making moves to transfer funds so the legislative changes can be properly vetted.

“It’s being discussed. I mean, there’s money in the governor’s office, as well, that could be shifted over there, but it hasn’t yet,” he said Thursday.

According to a Senate GOP spokesman, it’s a non-issue. The agency’s lack of funding won’t be the thing that prevents a bill from getting to the governor, he said.

The measure largely reduces retirement benefits for future state and school employees, and is estimated to save $11 billion over 30 years.

But detractors say it doesn’t address the state’s pension debt, approaching $50 billion dollars, and the cause of immediate budget pressures on the state and its school districts.

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