Seats lost, not pensions

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:46

    HARRISBURG - Two longtime state legislators will lose their jobs because of their primary defeats, but don’t worry about them - they’ll be well taken care of. Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, R-Blair, will leave office in December with an estimated annual state pension of $104,067, according to figures from the State Employees Retirement System. And Senate Majority Leader David ``Chip’’ Brightbill, R-Lebanon, will be eligible to collect a state pension of $72,430. Brightbill and Jubelirer were two of 17 incumbents ousted in the primary earlier this month. The losses have been attributed to a voter backlash fueled by the Legislature’s furtive attempt last year to raise its own pay. The pay raise was later rescinded. Pensions for lawmakers vary based on their years of service. But for those with at least 10 years of service, the perks include free lifetime health insurance, Gentzel said. Attempts to reach the two senators for comment Friday were unsuccessful. Eric Epstein, one of the leaders of last year’s grassroots reaction against the pay raise, said the 2001 bill elevating the pension payouts, and the long-term financial burden it has placed on the state, help make the case for taking compensation issues out of the Legislature’s hands. ``Nowhere in the Pennsylvania constitution can you find the term ‘Golden parachutes,’’’ Epstein said. ``We need to re-examine the pension formulas, and adjust them to real world conditions.’’