A PERA Fix That’s Really a Fix

(April 16) – A bill to assure the long-term solvency of Colorado PERA, the retirement plan for teachers and government employees, was significantly amended in the House Finance Committee today.

SB18-200, sponsored in the House by Majority Leader KC Becker and Rep. Dan Pabon, commits $225 million in new funding to reduce PERA’s liability and set it on the path to full funding within 30 years.

“More money is leaving PERA than is coming in,” Majority Leader Becker said. “Every year the legislature fails to act costs taxpayers more money and means less retirement security for retirees and current employees. With these amendments, this bill honors our commitment to our active and retired state employees.”

“We need to make sure promises made are promises kept,” said Rep. Pabon, the chairman of the Finance Committee. “Our goal is a retirement system that is safe and secure.”

Some of the more notable amendments to the Senate version of the bill would:

  • Eliminate a proposed expansion of the direct contribution, a riskier and statistically less productive employee-managed option than the standard, PERA-managed direct benefit. Expanding the DC option would have hurt the plan’s unfunded liability.
  • Reset the minimum retirement age to 60. Current law is 58; the unamended version of SB18-200 would have made it 65.
  • Change the highest average salary for the purposes of calculating benefits from seven years in the Senate version to five as amended.

“These amendments are entirely consistent with our goal of restoring PERA to full funding within 30      years,” Majority Leader Becker said. “There’s shared sacrifioce between the state and the employees, future employees and retirees.”

The amended SB18-200 passed the Finance Committee on a bipartisan 10-3 vote. Next stop: the Appropriations Committee.



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