Monday, June 6, 2011

Debt Retirement Bill Approved in House Committee – by – Robyn Ekings

A portion of future state government surpluses would be used to pay retirement debt under legislation that cleared a House committee Monday.

House Bill 384 by state Rep. Kevin Pearson is a constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds' approval of the Legislature as well as the endorsement of voters.

Pearson, Chair of the House Retirement Committee, amended the legislation to phase in the amount of surpluses that would be dedicated to paying down the debt.

The state retirement systems currently lack the assets to pay all benefits if they had to do so today. The problem is called the UAL, or unfunded accrued liability. The UAL for the four systems totals about $18 billion.

Under Pearson's bill, 5 percent of surpluses would be used to pay down the UAL beginning in the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2015. That number would rise to 10 percent in 2016.

The House Committee on Appropriations sent the legislation to the House floor for debate.

The LASERS Board of Trustees supports this proposal.

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