Employer increases, new benefit proposed for fire and police pensions
In This Section
October 11, 2019
By By Kevin Bommer, CML executive director
On Monday, Oct. 21, the Colorado General Assembly's interim Pension Reform Commission will consider draft legislation approved for drafting at its last meeting. If approved by the commission, the legislation would be introduced as a committee bill in the upcoming legislative session.
The lone bill draft will contain five items requested by a majority of the Fire and
Police Pension Association (FPPA) Board. A proposal to stabilize the Statewide Death & Disability (D&D) Plan, which was supported by CML and other employer representatives during a prior task force process, will be included within the single draft bill. However, the draft will also include employer contribution increases for employers affiliated with the FPPA Statewide Defined Benefit (SWDB) Plan and a benefit enhancement that will also increase employer contributions.
CML has specifically flagged three of the five elements of the legislation:
1. Increase funding of the Statewide D&D Plan to reach 100% funded status. The 0.2% contribution increase (with likely annual increases by the FPPA Board) may be split by the employer with employees. The source of contributions are not specified in statute. Additionally, a cash infusion from the state will be requested. CML believes this is necessary to shore up the D&D fund, and staff is disappointed it is not a standalone bill proposal.
2. Increase employer contribution rate to the SWDB Plan by 4%. The 0.5% annual increase over eight years would be solely on the employer, even though the plan is nearly fully funded. The intent of proponents is to guarantee the availability of excess funds to provide cost of living adjustments (COLAs)
3. Allow SWDB plan members whose age and years of service total 80 to elect a normal retirement benefit. This is a benefit enhancement for early retirement, and the 1% contribution increase to afford it would be solely on the employer.
League staff is currently gathering sample fiscal impact to share with the committee, but the impact to local budgets will be significant. Staff is asking the CML Policy Committee to recommend a position of oppose unless amended to remove the SWBD unfunded mandates, in order to focus on the critical issues facing the D&D plan.
The Pension Reform Commission will meet on Oct. 21 to review and vote on whether the legislation that will be drafted will be introduced in the 2020 session as a committee bill. More information on committee members, links to documents, and a link to listen to committee proceedings can be found at leg.colorado.gov/committees/pension-review-commission/2019-regular-session.