Karen DeWitt

New Yorkers have the power on Nov. 7 to decide whether some state officials convicted of a felony should be stripped of their pensions.

But the proposal would not apply to two former legislative leaders and several former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who are accused of corruption.

The ballot proposition before voters on Election Day would allow a judge to determine whether a state official convicted of crimes like bribery or bid-rigging should lose all or part of their pension.

Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - One of the state's two largest pension funds has released its financial report for 2016. The State Employees Retirement System--or SERS--continued a longstanding pattern last year of coming up short of projected long-term earnings. 

PA Governor Signs Pension Overhaul Into Law

Jun 13, 2017
AP Photo/Marc Levy

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill to restructure Pennsylvania's heavily indebted public pension system. It's designed to shift some financial risk away from taxpayers. 

Kumar Appaiah / via flickr

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - In an uncharacteristically bipartisan effort, the legislature passed a bill Thursday to significantly change the structure of its badly indebted state employee and public school employee pension systems. It's slated to be signed into law Monday. 

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Thanks to months of behind-the-scenes negotiation, a significant pension bill is on a fast track through the state legislature. It easily passed the Senate Monday, though even its supporters acknowledge that it doesn't come close to fully fixing Pennsylvania's pension woes. 

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- State senators gathered in the Capitol on Sunday evening to move a bill that's been dogging the legislature for the last four years, in various forms. 

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- A bipartisan group of legislative leaders has been working on a major proposal to change how state employee pensions are structured. The commonwealth's roughly $70 billion unfunded pension liability has been dogging lawmakers for years. But the plan most likely to move forward won't attempt to reduce that debt significantly.

Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- Governor Tom Wolf and state Treasurer Joe Torsella say they have a way to cut down on Pennsylvania's mountainous pension costs: change investment strategies to cut down on fees to outside money managers. 

WITF Radio

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- One of Harrisburg's perennial headaches is heading back to the legislative spotlight as Senate Republican leaders work to push a familiar pension bill through the chamber. 

PA Pension Director Says Lawmakers Should Pay More

Feb 23, 2017
Katie Meyer

HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- One of the big questions going into state budget negotiations is whether--after years of failed attempts--the legislature will address tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities in its two biggest pension funds. 

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - New York voters will decide this fall whether to allow a judge to reduce the pension of public officials convicted of corruption. On Monday, the state legislature approved a constitutional amendment that would allow a judge to strip various state and local officials of their pension if they've been convicted of a felony related to their job. 

New Year, Same Old PA Pension Problems

Jan 25, 2017
Katie Meyer

(Harrisburg) -- In one of the state Capitol's well-trafficked lobby areas, there's a clock that tracks unfunded pension liabilities. All day and night, that clock ticks upwards, adding billions of dollars to Pennsylvania's debts every year. 

A wide range of organizations across New York state are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to push for a state-administered workplace retirement savings option, as part of his 2017-2018 state budget proposal next month. 

Maguis & David / flickr

(Harrisburg) -- In the final hours of Wednesday's legislative session, state lawmakers took yet another stab at an overhaul of the commonwealth's heavily indebted state pension system. The issue has long been a legislative priority. 

Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY

Pennsylvania lawmakers recently passed a law that changes the way potential modifications to state pension plans are evaluated. This concerns state pensions, which cover state and public school employees. Gov. Wolf signed it into law last week. Pennyslvania's state pensions are underfunded by about $50 billion, the second-worst level of underfunding in the U.S.

Courtesy of Tom Wolf / flickr

Legislation dealing with pensions has, for decades, received a once-over by actuaries working for the Public Employee Retirement Commission, or PERC. The point is to have PERC actuaries' objective analysis. That's  apart from information provided by bill sponsors and actuaries working for potentially-affected retirement systems.

Lindsey Lazarski / WHYY

Gov. Tom Wolf wants Commonwealth Court to back his decisions that have left the state legislature without what two lawmakers say is a critical independent opinion in debates over pension bills. The Office of General Counsel and Attorney General's Office filed the response Wednesday. 

Karen DeWitt / Capitol Bureau Chief

A New York comedian, who is also an activist on prison rights issues, is drawing attention to the state’s practice of investing a small amount of its pension fund in the private prison industry.

Maguis & David / Flickr

Fast-moving legislation to overhaul public pension benefits in Pennsylvania would yield less savings due to changes made over the past few days, according to an actuarial analysis released Monday.

frankieleon / flickr

Proposed changes to the state’s retirement systems would save the commonwealth $18 billion over 30 years, according to a fiscal analysis of the plan being fast-tracked in the state Senate.

Uncharted Waters Ahead For Senate Pension Changes

May 7, 2015
jasontromm / flickr

The Pennsylvania Senate GOP’s plan to change to the state’s pension system is a heavy political lift that remains untested in the legislature.

pennstatenews / flickr

Pennsylvania Senate Republican leaders want to make current state and school employees pay more toward their retirement to help shore up a severely underfunded system. 

PA Senate GOP Readying Long-Awaited Pension Pitch

Apr 29, 2015
Maguis & David / flickr


Pennsylvania Senate Republicans plan to roll out a proposal to overhaul public pensions in early May, the first step toward making good on their promise to address pension debt before negotiating a commonwealth budget.

Emily Previti / Keystone Crossroads

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers say the rules governing public pensions need to change, but not everyone follows the guidelines already in place.

And it looks like they might not have to.

Read or listen to the full story here.

Spiking is when a city worker puts in a lot of overtime at the end of his/her career in order to get more money in retirement. Pension benefits are typically based on a person's final salary. Working more overtime increases that salary, and that means higher retirement payouts.

Kate Lao Shaffner / WPSU

Many Pennsylvania municipalities are already taking steps towards reforming their pension plans. Because municipalities cannot legally break pension obligations already promised, reform usually means changing the pension plans for new employees while older employees' pensions remain intact. Keystone Crossroads asks, Is the younger generation bearing the brunt of pension reform?

Click here for the full story.


Romans, Booty And Sailors: All Part Of The History Of Pensions

Apr 14, 2015

As we were reporting on the problem of unfunded pensions in Pennsylvania, it occurred to us to ask: How did pensions come about, anyway? Who ever thought to let people retire and keep paying them after they’ve stopped working? And is the problem of underfunded pensions a recent phenomenon?

Check out the full story here.

Irina Zhorov / WESA

There are many reasons why municipal pension funds in the Commonwealth are struggling (though, in actual dollars, they’re doing better than the state pension funds). Many funds lost money in market downturns, like the one in 2008, and have not been able to recover. Systemic issues make funding municipal pensions, especially for smaller jurisdictions, inefficient. But there are also factors affecting pension funds that municipalities actually have control over.