Note From the Team Aug-Sept 2017

It’s been quite the spring and summer, with plenty of ups and downs, policy-wise in Pennsylvania. We held off on sending this new edition of Commonwealth Sense, waiting for a break in action so we could fill you in on what transpired with and around the Pennsylvania budget. And as we head to print in early August, we don’t yet have an agreed-to revenue plan, but there is a spending plan. In this issue we explain where things have (temporarily) landed with the budget, what battles lie ahead, and what victories we achieved along the way.

Did you hear? In June, the Pennsylvania House and Senate, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, passed transformative pension reform legislation hailed as a part of a “major turn-around among states” by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Gov. Wolf signed the bill on June 13.

Ten years ago, many denied a pension crisis existed, and just two years ago, Gov. Wolf vetoed pension reform. But grassroots momentum for reform has been growing.  Now, we see the first results of this momentum, with lawmakers making reform a priority and Gov. Wolf pivoting from staunch opposition to vocal support.

While more work remains to fully address the pension problem, including tackling the debt, this reform is a major step toward ensuring that in 20 years, we won’t look back and say, “If only we had acted.”