PERA Fix Passes the House

(April 30) – A bill to assure the long-term solvency of Colorado PERA, the retirement plan for teachers and government employees, was approved by voice vote in the House of Representatives tonight.

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. This bill honors our commitment to our active and retired state employees.”

As amended in the House, the bill pulls back from fixing PERA on the backs of the 585,000 civil servants and teachers who are paying into the plan or drawing benefits from it. In key amendments, the bill:

  • Eliminates a proposed expansion of the direct contribution, a riskier and statistically less productive employee-managed option than the standard, PERA-managed direct benefit.
  • Resets the minimum retirement age to 60, from 58. The unamended version of SB18-200 would have made it 65.
  • Changes the highest average salary for the purposes of calculating benefits from seven years in the Senate version to five as amended.
  • Leaves employee contributions to PERA at 8 percent of salary, eliminating a proposed 3 percentage point increase.

“This bill goes a long way toward protecting our state retirement system over the long term,” said Rep. Pabon, the chairman of the Finance Committee. “Through shared sacrifice, this is a solvency plan that puts us on track today.”

A recorded vote on SB18-200 is expected on Tuesday, after which the bill will head back to the Senate for consideration of amendments adopted in House committees.


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