Treasurer Garrity Visits Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas

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Treasurer Stacy Garrity toured Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, then took part in a roundtable discussion about education opportunities and economics in the region. Representatives of Lackawanna College, the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center, Northern Tier Industrial Education Center, Commonwealth Charitable Management, the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, the Wyoming County Community Alliance, and Coterra took part in the roundtable discussions.

Treasurer Garrity shared the importance of the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program as a tool to support workforce development and help families save to make education of all types more affordable. She also emphasized the need for the Keystone Saves legislation. Keystone Saves allows employers who don’t currently have retirement plans for employees to provide retirement savings options to more than two million Pennsylvanians.

“Lackawanna College’s School of Petroleum and Natural Gas is a crucial resource here in the northeast, where local industries need highly skilled workers,” Garrity said. “Programs like Treasury’s PA 529 program can help make education more affordable for students by offering tax-advantaged savings options to help pay for any type of higher education, including the many career-focused certificates and two-and four-year degrees offered right here in their own backyard.”

The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program offers families two plans to choose from, the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) and the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP). IP account earnings are based on financial market performance, while GSP earnings are based on college tuition inflation.

Both plans offer generous tax benefits including a state income tax deduction on contributions (up to $16,000 per beneficiary per year; $32,000 for married couples); PA state and federal tax-free contribution growth; no income tax paid on account growth when used for qualified expenses; and gift and inheritance tax benefits. Families can learn more about how to start saving with PA 529 plans at or by calling 800-440-4000.

“The Pennsylvania 529 plan is a great benefit for families and our communities,” said Sue Gumble, Director of the Lackawanna School of Petroleum and Natural Gas. “A career in the energy industry can be life-changing. This program financially prepares students for college, providing them with the means to pursue a degree and graduate prepared to enter the workforce.”

“While our PA 529 program helps students pay for critical job-force training, there is potential for the same model to work to help them save throughout their careers and be better prepared for retirement,” Garrity said. “Proposed Keystone Saves legislation is by far the most business-friendly state retirement program out there, and it is so important that we make it a reality to help our friends and neighbors — our favorite waitress, hairstylist or mechanic — people we all know — have an easy way to save for retirement. It’s also a big boost for employers who would be able to offer retirement benefits to attract and retain more workers.”

Keystone Saves, which will be introduced as HB 2156 by prime sponsor Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R) and co-sponsor Rep. Michael Driscoll (D), will expand retirement savings opportunities for more than two million Pennsylvanians. The business-friendly program lets employers offer retirement plans without having to worry about start-up costs, program liability, and other red tape that keeps them from doing so. Businesses will simply provide an employee census to Treasury and process a payroll deduction.

Keystone Saves will be administered much like the PA 529 program as a public-private partnership. Employees maintain complete control of their accounts, and the accounts can follow them from job to job. The proposed legislation already has more than 50 co-sponsors from across the commonwealth. Ten other states have enacted similar legislation.

“Keystone Saves is a win, win, win,” Garrity said. “Employers can offer a great benefit, hardworking Pennsylvanians get an easy way to save for retirement, and taxpayers save billions of dollars, because it’s estimated that without action unprepared retirees will cost Pennsylvanians more than $14 billion over 15 years to cover extra social services costs.” “It’s clear that Treasurer Garrity understands the crucial role that energy plays in our country’s economy and workforce development,” said George Stark, Director of External Affairs at Coterra Energy. “Her eagerness to learn about our industry is refreshing and we’re excited for the chance to share more about our commitment to the community and environmental excellence.”