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PA teachers, state workers pensions face cuts

But lawmakers would add to long-term pension cost

UPDATE: PA AFSCME Council 13 union leader David Fillman and Pennsylvania State Education Association leader James Testerman tell me how they agreed to give up pension benefits for future public workers in a deal with State Rep. Bill Adolph, Republican of Springfield (Delco), to ease threatened pension subsidy cuts while boosting future payments to the plans, in my June 20 Philadelphia Inquirer column here.

EARLIER: PA State House almost unanimously passed H-2497, which "would raise the standard retirement age to 65 for both the Public School Employees' Retirement System and the State Employees' Retirement System. It also would require at least 10 years of service to vest, instead of five," reports AP via Bloomberg here.

"The size of pensions for people who are hired in the future would be cut by one-fifth, unless the employees agree to have more money taken out of their paychecks. Retirees would no longer be able to withdraw their own contributions in a lump-sum cash payment upon retirement.

"All the proposed changes would affect new employees only. They would not apply to anyone hired before June 30, 2011, for PSERS, and before Dec. 31, 2010, for SERS.

"The underlying bill -- which could get a vote on final passage in the House as early as Wednesday -- would add to the long-term cost of the pension systems but reduce the projected size of crippling payments due into both systems in two years."