Why Not A Defined Contribution Retirement Plan for Public Employees?

In a Capitolwire story about the Pennsylvania pension “reform” bill that would primarily defer costs to the future, Sen. Pat Browne says,

We tried to go as far as we could towards the kind of defined contribution plan the Commonwealth Foundation wanted. The Senate would not approve it.

To his credit, Sen. Browne has introduced SB 566, legislation that would create a defined contribution plan for new employees—like a 401(k)—in which the employer (the state, school districts, and local governments) would contribute 6% of salary into a retirement fund owned by employees.

The legislation has an impressive 18 cosponsors (and Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett has welcomed defined contribution plans for new state and school employees).

Furthermore, the Pennsylvania Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) did an analysis of SB 566, and found that, in contrast to the current plan to defer costs, simply switching to a DC-plan that costs 6% of salary would save the state and school districts a combined $14 billion in contributions over 30 years.

Download file PERC Report on SB 566 – Defined Contribution Plan

This makes it hard for me to understand how “we tried to go as far as we could” was to not hold a vote on SB 566, even in the very committee Sen. Browne chairs.