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Pension Update: Week 3

Posted Date: 
January 25, 2013
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties

The Joint Select Committee on Pensions held their first organizational/informational meeting on Tuesday, January 22.  Members of both the House and Senate State Administration Committees joined the meeting.

The meeting was opened with comments from Speaker of the House, Mark Blasdel, and Senate President, Jeff Essmann.  The rest of the day consisted of educating and informing the members on the different issues they will need to consider as they deliberate developing a solution.

The Committee heard presentations from staff regarding overviews of the current system, legislative history, legal review, funding implications, fiscal data, and informational resources.  They also had presentations from the Budget Director, the Executive Director of the Board of Investments, the Chief Investment Officer, and the Executive Directors of both the Teachers Retirement and the Public Employees Retirement Systems. 

The Committee began hearing bills on Thursday, January 24 regarding the Teachers and University Systems.

Next Tuesday, the Committee will hear HB 96 – the MPERB funding proposal and SB 82, Senator Lewis’s proposal on Defined Contribution Plans.

This Committee will be hearing all proposals and closely evaluating the impacts of all of them before making any decisions.  We will continue to monitor the activities of the Committee and keep you informed.

Information is in the process of being developed that will outline the components of the Governor’s proposal for funding PERS.  The information should be available for distribution early next week.

HB 122 – MPERA Qualification Bill (Update)

HB 122, Ensure federal IRS qualification of MPERA retirement systems, is the Administration bill to make changes to comply with IRS regulations.  A component of this bill was to shift the costs of having the actuary prepare the information required by GASB 68 (posting unfunded actuarially liabilities on employers financial statements) to the employers.  The Committee amended the cost shift out of the bill, citing that they believe the provision of this information is the responsibility of MPERA, and the costs should be paid out of MPERA’s budget.  FYI – MPERA retains 1.5% of benefits paid for administrative costs.

Next Week

MACo will be presenting “the numbers” and updating our website with a wealth of information for you to review.   We will put this in simple terms – but will also provide you links to the information should you wish to dig deeper into the issue.

Sheryl Wood | (406) 449-4360 |