Missouri Senate Endorses State Pension Changes

State senators have proposed changes to Missouri's pension system which could save the state an estimated $314 million over five years.

(April 13, 2010) — Missouri Senator Jason Crowell has endorsed legislation to restructure the state’s pension system, creating a new division to manage investments of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System.

While Crowell said the creation of a separate entity to handle investments for state workers would cut down on costs, predicting the entire bill would save Missouri $34 million next year, others have expressed concern. “As a trustee and state treasurer, I think we need a strong system of accountability,” Treasurer Clint Zweifel said to the Columbia Daily Tribune. “I would be very concerned about any proposal that outsources our fiduciary responsibilities and the accountability to taxpayers.”

According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, the new entity will additionally handle the retirement program for employees of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Under Crowell’s plan, state employees hired after Jan. 1, 2011, will pay 4% of their salary to support the state pension program and would need to work longer, until the age of 67, to get full benefits. Currently, workers do not pay anything into the retirement system, with their benefits funded entirely through the investment income of the pension system and state cash.

Senators approved the measure on Monday, and another round of approval is needed before it can progress to the House.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href='mailto:pvasan@assetinternational.com'>pvasan@assetinternational.com</a>; 646-308-2742