MACo Opposes Costly Changes to State Retirement System

MACo Policy Associate, Kevin Kinnally, provided testimony in opposition to House Bill 344, “State Retirement and Pension System – Disability Retirement and Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Offsets,” before the House Economic Matters Committee on February 21, 2017. Kinnally was joined by Wendy Karpel, Associate County Attorney, Montgomery County in opposition to the bill.

The bill appears to shift costs from the pension/retirement sector to the workers’ compensation sector, which may not affect State costs but would increase costs on local governments. One of the key provisions of HB 344 is the repeal of the ability to offset a workers’ compensation benefit if a person is receiving an ordinary disability payment for the same injury from the State Retirement and Pension System (SRPS). Another appears to result in the shifting of costs between SRPS and the workers’ compensation system.

Currently, the ability to collect both a workers’ compensation payment and a disability retirement payment is a special benefit enjoyed by fire and public safety personnel. The “stacking” of these benefits is costly to local governments. HB 344 would broaden the pool of potential candidates that could stack such benefits.

From MACo testimony:

While such shifting may ultimately be neutral at the State level, as the State pays for both retirement benefits and workers’ compensation for its members, such shifts have a different effect for local governments, which pay for workers’ compensation directly.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.