Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lawmakers can’t raid Hawaii Pension Fund

A law that allowed the Legislature to divert nearly $350 million from the state pension fund in the 1990s violated the state constitution, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

Although the decision does not require the state to repay the Employees' Retirement System, the decision prevents any future attempt by lawmakers to divert money from the pension fund, a lawyer involved in the case said.

In the 3-2 decision, the court granted the request by Employees' Retirement System trustees who wanted the law declared unconstitutional.

The Employees' Retirement System, or ERS, has about 100,000 members, consisting of state and county workers and government retirees who receive pension payments from the fund.