Pension Reform Update
On November 26, Governor Corbett’s Budget Office released a report about Pennsylvania’s statewide public pension systems, including SERS. The report was intended to “advance the dialogue on meaningful pension reform … with a goal of creating a common framework around which solutions can be structured.” Through this report, available at www.budget.state.pa.us, the Governor’s Budget Office explains how it will approach pension reform going forward. Pension reform has not yet occurred and the issuance of this report does not change your current retirement benefit in any way.
Together, the statewide pension systems— SERS and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System—manage about $74 billion in assets, have unfunded liabilities of about $41 billion and pay about $8 billion in total benefits each year—most of which stays in Pennsylvania. The stakes of Pennsylvania’s pension reform debate are high—both in terms of the staggering sums of money involved, as well as in terms of each member’s household financial security.
With so much at stake in the pension reform debate and so much interest in the topic from individuals, interest groups, policymakers and others involved, the potential for conflicting information from the media and other sources is significant. As such, we have dedicated a portion of this newsletter to providing you with basic information about SERS and the benefits we paid last year. For instance, the “snapshot” table on pg. 3 provides several data points, like the average benefit paid to SERS retirees last year was about $24,500. In addition, the map on pg. 5 shows you where SERS benefits are paid, including how much money is paid to members in your area.