Pension Bills Should Financially be Viewed as a Whole, KLC Public Affairs Director Says

With pension systems still on the rebound, KLC Public Affairs Director Bryanna Carroll told lawmakers they should be investigating what fiscal impact the flood of pension-related bills will have on the stability of the systems as they consider the bills.

“We have been monitoring all of the pension bills that have been filed, whether they have been voted out of committee or discussed before PPOB,” she said. “[House Bill 349] does have an annual contribution increase of $3.6 million, but it does increase the unfunded liability of $7 million.”

“When you talk about other bills, they might have a $50 million or $100 million increase, such as the 13th check or COLA discussion or major pension reform,” she continued. “There have been other bills that have been filed too that have other impacts, so I would request consideration of a comprehensive look at all of these pension bills – in particular line of duty.”

Carroll said the state could fund line of duty instead of the pension systems footing the bill.

“We are riding the wave of assumptions, and you have taken great steps in helping CERS, in particular, really go from being in dire straits to heading in an upward trajectory,” Carroll added. “Finding other funding mechanisms for line of duty such as paying it out of the budget, or other means meant for the fire and police, would help make it so that it’s not as expensive, and taxpayers aren’t paying interest on it.”

Public Pension Oversight Board Co-Chairman D.J. Johnson told the committee he recognized the need to look at the bills and said he would call for the legislation discussed in Thursday’s meeting to be brought in front of his committee on Monday.

“We do have to consider the cumulative impact on the unfunded liabilities that we have – they haven’t gone away,” Johnson said.