Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Retirement Consolidation Bill May be Pulled

A bill that would consolidate operations of the four state retirement systems likely will be killed off by the legislators pushing it.

Louisiana House Speaker Jim Tucker and state Rep. Jeff Arnold, co-sponsors of House Bill 230, deferred the bill for one week during a House Retirement Committee meeting Wednesday.

But Tucker, said Thursday he is probably not going to reintroduce the bill in the next few days. “We need to back up and regroup, make sure our facts are correct,” he said.

The Public Affairs Research Council, called PAR, has recommended the idea in several reports, most recently in 2005. During the last 10 years, state officials, including former Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle and former state Treasurer Mary Landrieu, suggested consolidation as a cost-saving measure.

But retirement system officials consistently have rejected the idea, saying it would put their multibillion-dollar investments at risk.

“I don’t see how putting all your eggs in one basket with less expertise gives better oversight,” said Cindy Rougeou, executive director of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, called LASERS.

Along with LASERS, HB230 would affect the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, called TRSL; Louisiana School Employees Retirement System; and State Police Pension and Retirement System.

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