Conference Committees are starting today. We need your help to get the attention of MN legislators to make them aware of MN retirees’ need for a hedge against inflation.
In a non-traditional approach to pensions this session, the Legislature is bypassing the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) with bills making major modification to pension laws. With no meetings scheduled or LCPR proposals addressing general pension issues alive, some Commission members have submitted pension bills to House and Senate committees.
In the House, what started out as a $1 Billion bill by Rep. Mary Murphy is now less than half that. The good part is that Rep. Michael Nelson, chair of the State Government. Finance Committee, included Mary’s bill in the Omnibus State Government Finance Bill (HF 4953). The House passed the bill and a conference committee is working to craft a compromise that the House and Senate can agree on.
However, the House and Senate have agreed on very little so far. One pundit said, “They aren’t even on the same planet on spending.” That does not bode well for pensions. We are only halfway to our goal of getting a good pension bill to the Governor’s desk.
We saw progress in the House which passed HF 4293 that would provide lump-sum COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) payments on Jan. 31, 2023 and 2024, equal to 2.5 percent of the previous years’ annual benefit. The bill would send $400 million to public employee pension plans to cover the cost of the lump sum payments and reduce the assumed rate of return (ARR) from 7.5 to 7 percent.
Unfortunately, there is an eerie silence in the Senate. Senator Julie Rosen, chair of the LCPR, started out with a strong pension bill over a month ago. But that bill disappeared, LCPR meetings were cancelled, and nothing has been heard from the Senate on public employee pensions. The companion bills to the House bills are stuck in the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee.
Rosen’s bill in the Senate would provide for a 1.5 percent permanent COLA and would reduce contributions by active educators by .5% but there is no progress at this time.
The bottom line: your pension needs a little help from you!
Please call or email your state representative and your state senator. They need to get the following message from YOU:
“As a Minnesota retiree, I want you to know that we need help with inflation. I am on a fixed income and inflation is eating into my ability to live my life. . Please support a strong pension bill that raises our Cost of Living Adjustment so we can keep up with inflation. “
Here’s where to find contact information for your state senator and your state representative.