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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2022 02:56 PM
From: Representative Scott Conklin
To: All House members
Subject: Study: How have pension changes impacted the Commonwealth’s ability to attract and hire employees?
The Commonwealth workforce is one of the state’s strongest assets. Without our public sector employees, the everyday functions of government would be disrupted. Historically, to attract talented individuals to work for the state, Pennsylvania has offered benefits in lieu of competitive pay to prospective employees.
Unfortunately, chronic underfunding and raiding of our public pensions had led to large unfunded deficits. Rollbacks to benefits in the form of Act 5 of 2017 were instituted to address these deficits. Act 5 of 2017 constituted an enormous upheaval for the pension system, providing lesser retirement benefits for newly hired state employees.
While jobs in all sectors across the Commonwealth are struggling to return during the COVID-19 recovery, Federal data from the United States Labor Department estimates that public sector jobs are recovering at a slower rate than the private sector. Because the well-being of the Commonwealth workforce correlates with the daily function of Pennsylvania’s governmental institutions and the well-being of Pennsylvania’s economy, this lag affects us all.
As such, I propose the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee conduct a study on how the implementation of Act 5 has impacted the ability of the Commonwealth to attract, hire and retain employees. While this study should have been conducted prior to passing Act 5, it’s important to know how Act 5 has impacted hiring practices and have recommendations on how to address the impacts. Please join me righting the ship for our unsung public servants.