Pension commission may delay sustainability plans

The Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) met on Wed., Feb. 24, to address a variety of retirement system issues, including funding package proposals from the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS), Teachers Retirement Association (TRA), and the St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA).
LCPR chair Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, R-Sartell, said that some commission members have had questions or voiced concerns about how sustainability proposals might affect school districts and state agencies. O’Driscoll said the panel needs to allow time for more research and to give the LCPR staff time to do more analysis. He said that the LCPR will take a measured approach to sustainability proposals.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said that she appreciates the chair’s intention to be thoughtful and allow more time. Sen. Sandy Pappas, D-St. Paul, said that the proposals would result in a big jump in one year, so she suggested the panel consider taking an incremental approach and phase in changes. This session will be short and dollars are tight, Pappas said – and much of the state’s budget surplus is one-time money, so lawmakers need to be careful how it is spent.
Pappas said the vitality of the funds is important and the directors and boards have been responsible in taking a careful approach to this.
Sen. Alice Johnson, D-Blaine, said she has heard from school districts that they are concerned about the proposed contribution rate increase of 1 percent and the information from the funds has been very helpful. O’Driscoll responded that the retirement systems are not in a crisis state, but that the commission needs to continue to do due diligence and perhaps address funding issues next year.
The panel did approve mortality assumption changes for the Appleton and White Bear Lake fire relief associations. However, the commission took no action on an MSRS proposal to revise language around augmentation rates for MSRS-covered Fairview Hospital privatized employees, nor did the panel act on a proposal that would affect vesting and maximum lump sum amounts for Eden Prairie Volunteer Firefighter Relief Association. The LCPR also took no action on a proposed benefit increase for certain former local police and paid fire relief association recipients.

The LCPR meets again on March 15.

courtesy of TRA Communications