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Thank you to all of you who took action yesterday on Senate Bill 1 by contacting your senators.  After APSCUF issued the alert, Senate leadership contacted us with word that there is a single line in the 400-page bill that does allow for the continuation of alternative retirement plans (ARPs), e.g., TIAA-CREF.  We appreciate Senator Corman’s office clarifying the appropriate provisions, and we apologize for our misunderstanding.  Given the quick movement of this bill, we used the best sources and the best reading of the provision that we could given the short time frame and seriousness of the issue.  If you communicated about the ARPs to your senator, you may wish to note our corrected understanding of these provisions.

With the exception of the information about the ARPs, all other information in yesterday’s alert are correct.  That is:

  • Those enrolled in SERS or PSERS would be required to move to the new plan with the new contribution rate.  Further, only your highest 5 years (it is currently 3) would be used to calculate your pension;
  • Liability for past employees would have to be covered by the State System instead of the pension system.  Presumably, that money would be paid from the Education & General budget, which would put additional programs and positions at risk.

In addition to these facts, it also appears that members enrolled in SERS or PSERS will have a choice: either pay more for your existing benefits, or pay the same amount with a reduction in benefits. Please continue to contact your senators to let them know that this change to SERS and PSERS is not acceptable.  The fact that we were approached demonstrates that your senators listen when you write.  The bill is expected to be voted on as early as tomorrow.