Good morning.

Knowing that all of you are wondering what happened in Senate Education this morning, re:  SB 150, ERB revisions.

Committee chair Sen. Cynthia Nava (D, Las Cruces) presented the much-anticipated amendment to the bill.  Briefly, SB 150  reflected revisions approved by the Education Retirement Board and in a nutshell would have reduced COLA and set a minimum age of 55.

These are the changes contained in the Nava amendment, which was approved by the committee

1.  removes the minimum retirement age
2.  removes COLA reductions for current and future retirees
3.  raises the EMPLOYER (read: money put in by state) contribution
from 13.9% to 15.44% by 2019
4.  employees hired after June 30, 2012 will have an 8 year vesting period
5.  employees age 67 must have 8 years service

The original bill had an increase in EMPLOYEE contributions from  9.4% to 9.9% in one-tenth percent increments over the next five years.  That remains in effect.

ERB director Jan Goodwin told the committee this iteration of the ERB fix would reach 78% of solvency by 2030 and 98% by 2040.

Staff Council President Mary Clark and former Professor Rich Wood, representing the Faculty Senate, both testified and urged caution as no data supporting this fix has been presented (but is promised) and increased state support is much in doubt.  Dr. Wood also said increased employee contributions will impact higher education's ability to recruit faculty.

The bill got a "Do Pass" which will land it in Senate Finance where  there seems to be little appetite for the state putting much more money into retirement.  Stay tuned.

Susan McKinsey