This is the Candidate Question & Response Forum for the State House 157 candidates. As previously stated, candidate Warren Kampf declined to participate in the question and response forum. Candidate Paul Drucker’s response follows the question. Each Monday for six weeks, a new question and response will be posted. The candidate forum will end the week before the election.
Question #1: How is the Commonwealth going to help the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District’s ballooning pension obligations?
Paul Drucker’s Response:
It is important to note that there is no silver bullet to fix the pension obligations of Tredyffrin-Easttown or any of the other school districts in the 157th district. The situation in which we currently find ourselves is a cumulative effort that has been in development over the past 11 years of irresponsible handling of the pension system, combined with the stock market collapse of 2008.
Eleven years ago the rules were changed concerning vesting, multiplier rates, lump sum payouts, actuarial analysis and other matters. As a result, the Commonwealth and the respective school districts find themselves with millions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and are facing a potential spike in the payments due in the immediate future in the billions of dollars.
There are some acts the legislature can take to begin fixing this problem. This session, the House passed a pension reform bill that relieves many of these problems. By reducing the multiplier used to calculate benefits, eliminating the lump-sum payout employees receive and raising the retirement age, we addressed this crisis in a responsible, bi-partisan manner. 194 members of the House voted in favor of the bill (although, surprisingly, my opponent has stated that he opposes it). While the Senate has not yet taken action, I strongly encourage them to do so.