TRENTON – Following today’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing on the State Pension Fund and its accounting and investment practices, Senator Shirley K. Turner announced that she will introduce legislation to constitutionally require the State to fully pay its annual pension fund commitments.
“We’re dealing with people’s livelihoods here,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Our state employees work hard and deserve to know that their pensions will be there for them when they retire.”
Senator Turner said that today’s hearing made it clear that the pension fund should be “off limits to Governors and legislators if they try to plug future budget holes.”
“We’re in this mess because past Governors have used the pension fund for all sorts of ill-conceived spending that the State couldn’t afford,” explained Senator Turner. “The State has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar far too many times and it’s time we crack down on irresponsible budget gimmicks.”
Senator Turner said her legislation would mirror similar requirements currently in 18 other states. She noted that Pennsylvania is one of those states that bars the legislature from diverting pension funds, and that their pension fund is considered very healthy.
“With an unfunded liability of over $24 billion dollars in the pension system, we have failed our workers for far too long. Now is the time to right the ship and set us on the right course to a pension that will be there for all of our current and future retirees,” added Senator Turner.
Senator Turner hopes to have the legislation ready for introduction as soon as the Senate reconvenes after the budget recess.