DENVER, CO – The House today passed a bipartisan bill to fulfill the state’s obligation to the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA). HB22-1029, sponsored by Representatives Shannon Bird and Shane Sandridge, passed the House by a vote of 58 to 7 and would make up for the suspended 2020 $225 million payment toward PERA.
“When the pandemic hit, significant budget cuts forced the state to skip a PERA payment and we owe it to our public employees to repay the debt,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “Colorado teachers, state troopers and public workers pay their fair share into PERA and our bipartisan bill ensures the state makes good on its obligation to continue paying down PERA’s unfunded liability. This bill safeguards the future of PERA, protects retirement benefits for thousands of dedicated public employees and preserves our state credit rating.”
PERA Repayment: HB22-1029, would ensure the State of Colorado fulfills its obligation to annually contribute to PERA until the unfunded liability is eliminated. The legislature suspended its annual payment of $225 million to PERA following the significant drop in projected state revenue as a result of the pandemic induced recession. The economy has since rebounded and this bill would make up for the suspended payment. Under this amended bill, the State of Colorado will contribute $380 million, $225 million will go towards the 2020 payment obligation and $155 million will go towards future payments.
As part of comprehensive pension reforms from SB18-200, the State of Colorado made an one time payment of $225 to PERA in July 2021 and is on track to make another one time payment in just a few months. This bill would restore the skipped payment to PERA in 2020 and maintain the state’s investment obligations.
PERA provides retirement and additional benefits to more 600,000 public employees including state government employees, state troopers, and public school teachers, in Colorado. Colorado’s continued investment toward paying down PERA’s unfunded liability is critical to maintaining a healthy credit rating which determines the cost of borrowing across all state agencies.