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Pension overhaul bill hits homestretch

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Republican lawmakers' long-sought legislation to overhaul pension benefits for Pennsylvania state government and public school employees may be nearing the finish line.

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House amendments to the Senate's bill Tuesday would help ensure that lawmakers and other elected officials keep their existing pension benefits. It also would remove the Senate's proposal to artificially lower next year's state and school pension obligations by about $170 million.

Gov. Tom Wolf has agreed to sign it as part of a wider budget agreement that guarantees a record spending increase for public schools.

The legislation would create a mandatory 401(k)-style benefit and halve the traditional pension benefit for future employees. It also puts new limits on current employee benefits.

There's no guarantee it'll save money, but supporters say it offers taxpayers greater protection against rolling up another huge pension debt.