When he was elected in 2010, Rep. Eli Evankovich* did what most newly elected lawmakers do; he signed up for the legislative pension.
As he learned more about the $50 Billion in unfunded liabilities, he started to regret that decision. Rep. Evankovich started to look into what he had to do in order to "opt out" of the pension and stop accruing benefits. Sounds like something that should be fairly easy to do, right?
As Rep. Evankvovich discovered it was not just difficult for him to opt out of the pension program, it was illegal. A recent news story from ABC 27, brought this bizarre situation much needed attention:
"The law in question, Chapter 243.1 in the benefits code, says, "The election of membership or nonmembership is irrevocable and shall be final and binding in the absence of an interruption to Commonwealth Service."
"Basically that means once a worker opts into the pension plan they can’t get out unless they quit or die…."
In the news story, Rep. Evankovich compares the pension system to a roach motel, and that is a fair comparison. It is also worth noting that Rep. Stephen Bloom has introduced legislation to give legislators and other state employees the freedom to opt out of the pension system once they sign up for it.
In case you are interested here is the list of Representatives and Senators who opted out of the pension system according to ABC 27:
"In addition to Bloom, the Chief Clerk of the House identified 12 Republicans (Gabler, Truitt, Fee, Kampf, Lawrence, Simmons, Saccone, Swanger, Sankey, McGinnis, Topper, Frederick Keller) and four Democrats (Donatucci, Davidson, Barbin, Sims) who have rejected pensions…The Chief Clerk of the Senate said there are two Republican members who refuse the pension: Scott Wagner of York County and Mike Folmer of Lebanon County."
Taxpayers should thank all of them for looking out for us.
It is worth noting that seven of the thirteen House members are affiliated with CAP, as are both Senators. We are working to add to their ranks this year.
*Note: Rep. Evankovich is also a CAP member. In 2010, we did not require candidates to opt out of the pension as a condition of our support. That policy changed in 2012, and a candidate’s willingness to opt out of the pension became a deal breaker for CAP.
Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.