Gov. Rendell Calls for Changing Pension Benefits for New Hires

In an interview with the Allentown Morning Call, Gov. Rendell calls for changing the pension benefits for new state and school district employees, citing the enormous costs of Pennsylvania’s pension systems (emphasis mine)

Q: You said you cannot legally touch the pensions of public employees, but should the system be changed for new employees?

A: Yes. We should reduce the benefit level. We should reduce when those benefits accrue. We can’t afford it. It’s going to break school districts and the state. It was a giveaway. Interestingly, everyone got upset at the [2005 legislative] pay raise. The pay raise cost the taxpayers about 1/500th of what this [2001] pension grab is costing. And no one got mad at Gov. Ridge. No one got mad at the Legislature back then. I guess it’s because the impact is phased in over so many years. But this is a tsunami compared to the pay raise.

Of course, this suggests a dramatic departure from the Rendell administration’s policy on pension – his latest state budget proposes delaying pension payments, and he has not offered any proposal to change benefits for new hires in his seven-plus years.