Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.
Here are this week’s top stories:
Texas legislature passes bill raising contributions to teachers pension plan by Rob Kozlowski. This past Sunday, both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives passed SB 12, which would increase the state’s contributions to the Texas Teacher Retirement System. The bill also provides a one-time supplemental payment of up to $2,000 to retired teachers. This “13th check” will provide retired teachers a boost so they can adequately keep up with inflation in retirement.
Oregon House passes PERS changes in tense vote by Dirk VanderHart and Jeff Mapes. Oregon lawmakers have ushered through SB 1049, which would put more money into PERS and stretch out the timeline for paying off the state’s pension debt. PERS currently has an unfunded liability near 80 percent – one of the best funded systems in the nation. SB 1049 also contained a provision that would force state employees to divert some money that would otherwise go into their personal retirement account, and put it towards the PERS debt. Stacy Chamberlain, Executive Director of the Oregon chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees stated: “Public sector workers across Oregon deserved better and the state should expect a lengthy battle in defense our members.” Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the legislation.
Kansas legislature reaches chaotic finish amid protests, first veto override of Kelly by Jonathan Shorman. This week, Kansas lawmakers overrode several spending items including a veto from Governor Kelly over an additional $50 million pension payment. Keeping the Kansas Promise, NPPC’s coalition in-state supported the governor’s veto. Additionally, state lawmakers were unable to override Governor Kelly’s veto of a bill that would provide tax breaks for businesses. Many speculate that if the veto was overridden, the state would fall into deep financial difficulties as it did when former Governor Sam Brownback passed his sweeping tax breaks a few years ago.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!