Pension Task Force December 9 Meeting Summary

VSEA is thanking all the VSEA members and retirees who took time yesterday to attend the December 9 meeting of the State Pension Task Force. Requests to attend were so great that Task Force representatives were forced early in the week to find additional space for people to watch; a development that did not go unnoticed by VSEA’s three representatives on the Task Force, who appreciated the show of support. 

Here are some of the takeaways from yesterday’s meeting:

  • VSEA representative Eric Davis started by saying that he felt the media coverage of the last meeting may have left people with the wrong impression. He is more optimistic that the Taskforce will find common ground;

  • The Committee reviewed the research on the application of one-time funds and reoccurring revenues on the unfunded liability and on the employer contribution from the General Fund;

  • The models tested a total of $90 million in both one time and reoccurring revenue. If you have $75 million in a lump sum combined with an annual contribution of $15 million above the ADEC or employer contribution, the total savings is $179 million, if you put $50 million in a lump sum and do $40 million in annual reoccurring revenues, the total savings is $339.7 million to the state budget;

  • There was a discussion of pre-funding of retired state employees and retired teachers health care benefits;

  • The Co-chairs announced that the legislative leaders have agreed to fund the actuarial analysis of creating Group G for qualifying staff at the State Psychiatric Hospital and  in the Department of Corrections. This would make the change the current carve-out to allow for full retirement at age 55 with 20 years of service;

  • The Taskforce agreed that they will wait until the legislative session to hold a public hearing. It will be done jointly with the Senate Government Operations Committee;

  • Rep. Peter Fagan from Rutland introduced 2 hybrid pension proposals for new hires. He urged the Taskforce to recommend that the new Pension Oversight Committee of the Legislature review the proposals.  Senator White said she would be willing to recommend they review benefits for new hires.  Eric Davis and Leona Watt both from VSEA pushed back and said he did not think the any recommendation should be included in the Taskforce final report; and

  • The Commissioner of Finance and Management was brought in by the co-chairs to testify that the State expects to have $200 million dollar surpluses for the next 2 fiscal years and will have abundant funds for the future. He said the Governor will not likely approve new revenues for the pension as a result.  

The Task Force’s next meeting will either be December 15, 2021, or December 20, 2021, depending on if the requested data is back from the actuaries. Members and retirees who missed yesterday’s meeting can watch it here.

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