Today is the New Hampshire presidential primary. As in Iowa last week, presidential candidates of both parties have been canvassing the state hoping to win votes at the ballot box. Also like Iowa, New Hampshire public employees earn a defined benefit pension for their retirement. Recently, however, anti-pension ideologues have been attempting to gut pensions for the Granite State’s firefighters, nurses, and other public employees.
I mentioned in last week’s blog post about Alabama that John Arnold and Pew have been there pushing what’s called a “cash balance plan.” In New Hampshire as well, anti-pension legislators have been promoting a cash balance plan. Last week New Hampshire’s Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Plans passed HB 1673, which would establish a cash balance plan for new employees hired beginning July 1, 2016. The full state house is scheduled to vote on HB 1673 later this week. If enacted, the cash balance plan would do real harm to the retirement security of public employees in New Hampshire, who earn a modest average annual benefit of $19,407.
While the threat of a cash balance plan in New Hampshire is very real, let’s not forget the presidential candidates that are currently swarming the state. While Iowa was a fairly easy win for socially conservative Senator Ted Cruz, several of the more “moderate” Republican candidates, like Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, are hoping for victories in New Hampshire. Granite State voters should give these candidates a long, hard look before casting their vote. Christie has gone back on his word multiple times and broken his promises to New Jersey’s public workers, taxpayers, and voters. Read more about the candidates’ positions on retirement security here.