Pennsylvanians pay extra for public pensions




Forced to cover the higher pension checks, state and local taxpayer funding for PSERS, the big retirement plan for public-school educators, has risen year after year, soaring from just over $600 million in 2010 to $5 billion this year.

Now a little-noticed provision of a reform passed in 2010, known as the “shared risk” rule, has come back to haunt PSERS officials — and teachers, too.

Under the rule, teachers, not just taxpayers, must pay more into the $64 billion pension system whenever profits fall short on investments.

In an embarrassing admission, its board said on Monday that the policy meant many teachers will face a hike in their payments this year. This was the first time this has happened since the law was adopted.

The board for PSERS — the Public School Employees’ Retirement System — acknowledged it had previously endorsed an inflated number for investment returns, a figure it incorrectly thought was just high enough to spare teachers any increase.

Author(s): Joseph N. DiStefano

Publication Date: 24 April 2021

Publication Site: Philadelphia Inquirer