Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

By Sen. Scott Wagner Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

The purpose of this column is to share with you why your school taxes keep going up.


The growing pension costs of the ten public school districts that are located within the 28th PA Senate District in York County are staggering.

On June 30th the PA House and Senate passed pension reform legislation and forwarded it to Governor Wolf – Governor Wolf vetoed the pension reform bill within days.

The elephant in the room continues to be the MASSIVE pension crisis facing Pennsylvania taxpayers.

I was recently forwarded the pension information contained in this email for the school districts in the 28th PA Senate District.

Listed below are charts showing the pension costs from the 2008-09 to 2019-20, a span of twelve years.

The first chart shows each school district’s actual pension costs for the 2008-09 year and the second chart shows the projected cost for the 2019-20 year of each school district.

The final chart shows the percentage increase from 2008-09 year to the 2019-20 year.

As you review the charts, please note that for the 2008-09 year the total pension costs for the ten schools districts WERE $12,535,778  , the projected costs for the 2019-20 year WILL INCREASE to $103,057,888  , an INCREASE over a twelve year period of $90,522,110   per year.

Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

The information that I am sharing with you is for ten school districts in York, Pennsylvania – there are over 500 school districts in Pennsylvania.

Please review the charts – I am sure you will agree that the Pennsylvania pension system is a ticking time bomb.

Pennsylvania must join the rest of the real world and go to a 401K retirement system.

History is history – the past is the past – NOW is the time to correct this problem.

By the way, in this email I only talk about school district pensions – there are many other departments affected by this pension mess – State Police, Penn Dot, Judges, State Universities, and workers from all other state agencies.

Over the next 30 days I will be meeting with various people in the private sector – not Harrisburg insiders – to discuss new ideas and options for a plan to move forward to diffuse the ticking time bomb.

To review the year by year details for each school district please click here.

I also want to report that Senate and House leadership have been meeting with the Governor over the 2015 – 2016 budget.

As I have continued to report, the solution cannot be higher taxes and more spending.

In the event that a budget deal would be reached, the Senate is on a 6-hour call – we would promptly reconvene to vote on the budget.

Addendum:  A reader who follows my emails closely sent the following response:
“Scott–You are close to making a key point that appears to be missing in the debate about Wolf’s budget proposal.  He wants to increase the state’s contribution to education.  It sounds nice, like he is trying to help kids.  But the fact is all of that additional funding and more will be poured into the black hole of pension costs.  If he really wanted more for education and to relieve property taxes, he would start by repealing prevailing wage and tackle pension reform.  But his budget shows what he really cares about….not schools and students, but rather the unions and their constituents.”

Great points about where the money is really going.

Sen. Walker represents the 28th District in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent

11 thoughts on “Pension Cost Rising 800 Percent”

  1. While I agree that defined pension plans are a huge problem for PA, I think there are some problems with this article.

    First off, $103,057,888 million dollars is a huge number. I’m guessing it is supposed to be 103 million dollars or $103,057,888. This applies to the other numbers in the article text.

    Secondly, 2008-09 Pension Contributions may not directly correlate to 2019-20 Pension Expenditures, because there should be an invested pension fund that buffers up and grows contributions until they need to be distributed as expenditures.

    1. Very good point about the word “million” and they have been removed.

      Regarding how the fund should have been properly invested so it could buffer up and grow contributions until they need to be distributed as expenditures you failed to:

      — Consider that it was Harrisburg that was in charge.

      — Put an LOL at the end of the sentence.

      Pennsylvania’s two state-guaranteed pension systems have an unfunded liability of $50 billion. The overworked or out-of-work or living-on-fixed-income residents of the state are being told to make it up with tax hikes so Gary “Cut Jerry Sandusky Some Slack” Schultz can continue to collect a $330,699 annual pension.

  2. I would like to see the progressive budgets for the schools and what the curriculum is in those districts; what the students are lacking and what waste is incurred from one district to the other, then to compare or evaluate what the students benefits are, versus the salaries and the union dues. Am I reading this right? There is no 401K Retirement Plan? What’s the sense in having unions if they are not working for the whole picture?

    1. Public school and state employees do not have a 401K-type defined contribution plan but a very good defined benefit one guaranteed by the taxpayer.

      They are fighting tooth and nail to keep it.

  3. All fine if it works, however, it seems this defined solution is not. Ergo, what to do? I don’t agree with the fight if the public school system is failing and the budget is suffering.

    1. And … don’t get me wrong, what is in place, is something that would need to be worked out, if they instituted a 401K solution, basically because there are those who actually are part of a plan that is pretty much sealed or ongoing. It would be difficult to change that. However, with a vote for those not so apart or less apart – a change might save the day. Grandfathering in those who are with the old and the new solutions would not be half bad if the vote of such a change was taken by those affected “to change”.

      Eventually the new would take over, and no one needs to suffer while that state revitalizes itself. Thank goodness, I am not governor of PA. That’s going to be a bear if they do this, and in all probability, it would work with a lot of opposition before anyone understood how good it is for PA. Just me thinking out loud and seriously not knowing the entire situation.

      1. –Grandfathering in those who are with the old and the new solutions would not be half bad —

        That’s what is on the table but it is being fought by the special interests.

  4. When projected pensions are so lucrative that potential recipients do not have to save for retirement, their attitudes and vision of how the world of work works becomes deluded and out of touch with reality.

  5. Something must be done, my mom lives on about $800.00 a month from social security. Social Security does not count the cost of food and oil in their cola equation. School taxes are another burden on the poor. Many older folks will lose their home to the enrichment of pension funds.

    1. Easing up, off the undue stress that our government has placed on Social Security funds is what needs to be done.

      Removing the go-ahead from congress that is using these funds for everything under the sun.

      It started with Bill Clinton and it just hasn’t stopped, and no one is replacing what they borrowed, so they now have as a common place and want us to agree to invest! The answer to that is absolutely NOT … in capital letters.

      Seniors who should have happy days after 65 are being made to suffer. Medications and care should all be “free”; there should be no need for any outside insurance companies that take from their retirement funds to have an additional “what?” premiums for prescriptions and co-pays, health clubs and whatever? This is ridiculous!

      This makes me sick to talk about common sense that is not being used or respected when it is heard.

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