by Pam Zubeck
Attempts to reform the Public Employees' Retirement Association this legislative session have hit a ton of bricks called Democrats.
The Public Education and Business Coalition reported in a newsletter today that Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, told a group of school administrators that bills proposing to change PERA aren't going anywhere in the 2011 legislative session.
The advisory reported:
"All of these eventually will go away," Shaffer said, referring to three Republican-sponsored bills that would change the membership of the PERA board, start converting PERA to a defined-contribution plan and give school boards greater flexibility in setting employee and employer contribution rates.
The one exception, Shaffer said, will be Senate Bill 11-076, a Joint Budget Committee bill that would maintain current employer and employee contribution rates for state and higher education employees. Legislative leaders consider that measure essential to balancing the 2011-12 budget because it keeps government contributions lower than employee contributions. The measure was approved this morning by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Shaffer spoke at the annual winter meeting of the Colorado Association of School Executives.
Republican lawmakers contend PERA is in deep trouble because it's made more promises than it can keep and its solvency relies on ever-growing contributions from public employers, i.e., taxpayers.
See the Indy's recent report here.
Sen. Kent Lambert also is carrying a bill that would allow Colorado Springs to change the ratio of employee-employer contributions to approach a 50/50 split, rather than today's split of 8 percent for employees and 13.7 percent for the city.