The Facts Demand That Gov. Wolf Veto Senate Bill 1

A Veto Will Benefit Taxpayers and Public Employees, While Helping to Improve the Quality of Schools and Public Services
Date of Press Release: 
July 6, 2015

The Keystone Research Center released today a statement from economist and Executive Director Dr. Stephen Herzenberg calling on Gov. Wolf to veto SB 1, the pension bill awaiting his action. KRC also released a list of “Top 10 Facts on SB 1,” detailing the bill’s costs to public employees and taxpayers. Dr. Herzenberg’s statement is below:

“Gov. Wolf should veto this deeply flawed Senate pension bill. Sound, fact-based public policy demands it.

Our fact sheet shows that SB 1 would eviscerate the pensions of future nurses, teachers and other public servants by as much as 70 percent. It would cost taxpayers more – not less – in the long run. And it would undercut the quality of our schools and state agencies by robbing them of the one human-resource tool they have for attracting and retaining great employees, notwithstanding the low salaries of public employees compared to their private sector counterparts. The only winners if SB 1 becomes law would be the financial firms that earn fees on future employees’ 401(k)-style accounts.

The legislative majority did not pass flawed bills similar to SB 1 in 2013 and 2014 because they knew that Gov. Corbett would sign them.  SB 1 passed this year, in part, because some members of the legislative majority are counting on Gov. Wolf to protect them from turning a bad bill into a bad law. While we may wish they had not taken this action, it is critical that Gov. Wolf follow through by protecting all Pennsylvanians with a veto of SB 1.

On pensions as on the state budget, it’s time to get down to real negotiations. Under the radar, a number of ideas that could become part of a bipartisan consensus on pensions have emerged over the past three years. Lawmakers and the Wolf Administration should develop that consensus to pass a bill that benefits taxpayers while protecting retirement security and the quality of schools and public services.”