In your July 3 editorial "Yes, why rush now on pensions?," The York Dispatch makes the claim that the pension reform plan proposed by House Republicans was a "quick fix" to an issue that should have been "a priority long before this 11th hour."
The hybrid pension proposal was reasonable compromise legislation developed by Reps. Mike Tobash, R-Schuylkill, Warren Kampf, R-Chester, and Chris Ross, R-Chester, through many months of work.
The proposal, designed to create cost savings for state and local taxpayers, would create a hybrid pension plan — a combination of the defined benefit pension currently in place and a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k) used by many private sector employees. It would save an estimated $11 billion to $20 billion over 30 years while maintaining a generous retirement benefit for future public employees.
This proposal was a long-term solution, not a quick fix. Painstaking calculations, care and compromise created the Tobash plan, which would have had no impact on current employees or retirees.
The time and effort spent on this plan were not a recent venture. For more than three years, the House has been discussing bills and amendments in committee meetings and hearings. Mr. Kampf's proposal, a defined contribution plan, was introduced more than three years ago, and his current bill was reintroduced on May 17, 2013. Mr. Tobash presented his hybrid compromise in April of this year, after months of work with various stakeholders and lawmakers in both the House and Senate.
Nothing about this proposal has been rushed. Nothing has been last-minute. But all opponents of this legislation want to do is stall. And that is the worst course. It exacerbates the problem.
Your editorial praised Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, for his actions in regard to this proposal. But if Rep. DiGirolamo had questions about this plan, he could have allowed debate on the bill to proceed and used his right to interrogate Reps. Tobash, Kampf and Ross about the details of the plan. He didn't. His actions cut off debate, discussions and questions about the bill with the use of a procedural maneuver.
Your editorial also suggests that the unions should be involved in discussions of this issue. They were. Unfortunately they opposed the bill, the amendments and every reasonable attempt at compromise. They also misled current retirees about their $100 monthly health supplement payment, saying this bill would have taken that away. That is not true.
It is imperative we overhaul our public pension systems to reduce the liability on taxpayers and reflect current day realities of public employee salaries and benefits.
This issue is vitally important to school boards across Pennsylvania as well as the taxpayers footing the bill. We are 100 percent committed to working with our colleagues and urge all Pennsylvania residents to stand with us and let your voices be heard on how important this is issue is to you.
7Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover
7House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, R-Red Lion
7Rep. Ron Miller,
7Rep. Will Tallman, R-Hanover
7Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg
7Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam
Republican House delegation