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Hon. Brad Roae
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Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
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Roae, House Committee Advance Pension Reform Bills

HARRISBURG – Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) today joined a majority of his colleagues on the House State Government Committee to approve two bills aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s public pension systems for teachers and state workers.

“The public pension funding problem is like a heavy weight around the necks of Pennsylvania taxpayers,” Roae said.  “That problem is only going to get worse if things don’t change.”

Pennsylvania’s two public pension systems – Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) – currently have an unfunded liability projected at approximately $47 billion.  That is the projected difference between anticipated revenues and the benefits that have been promised under the plans.

The two bills – House Bill 1352 and House Bill 1353 – approved by the House State Government Committee would change pension benefits for workers hired in the future. 

Current workers are enrolled in what is known as a “defined benefit” plan.  These plans provide guaranteed benefits which are paid for through contributions from the employee, contributions from the employer – either the state or a combination of the state and local school districts – and investment returns.  When investment returns sag, the employer – taxpayers – is forced to make up the difference to provide the guaranteed benefit.

Under the two bills, future workers would be enrolled in what is known as a “defined contribution” plan.  These plans invest employee and employer contributions and the worker’s pension is determined based on the returns on those investments.  The risk in these plans is shifted from the employer to the worker.

“Most businesses have already made this type of transition,” Roae said.  “This change makes sense as a way to continue providing retirement benefits for workers while also protecting Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

Roae noted taxpayers will have to pay approximately $1.6 billion into the two retirement plans in the upcoming fiscal year that will begin July 1.  That amount is projected to double to approximately $3.2 billion by 2018 if no public pension reforms are enacted.

The bills approved today by the House State Government Committee now move to the full House for consideration.

Representative Brad Roae
6th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845 /
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