Revamp Pa. pension system now or reap political fallout, GOP lawmaker tells Dems

    State House Republicans are expected to try to advance a plan this week to change pension benefits for future employees of Pennsylvania.The proposal would largely reduce retirement benefits for future state and public school hires.

    Supporters say it brings pensions in line with what the state can afford, but Democrats say it doesn’t protect future workers.

    But the Democrats might not like what happens if the bill doesn’t pass this month, warned Rep. Mike Vereb.

    “This is a tough decision, so this isn’t something that’s easy to cheer around and cheer behind, especially in the Democrats’ side of the aisle,” said Vereb, R-Montgomery. “What I think they need to understand is that talk is cheap, and if for some reason there is a Democratic governor next year, this is going to be their baby, because we certainly will say we have tried.”

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    Vereb said it’s still not clear if House Republicans have the votes on their own to pass the pension changes.

    Even if the measure is sent to the governor’s desk, the state will still be saddled with pension debt nearing $50 billion.

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