Pension Benefits Increase Would Create an Unbalanced System

MACo Research Director Robin Clark Eilenberg testified in opposition to House Bill 1042, “Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System – Benefit Cap Increase”, before the House Appropriations Committee on February 22, 2018. This legislation increases the limit for a normal service allowance for a member of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System from 60% to 65% of the member’s average final compensation.

Seven counties currently participate in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (LEOPS), and this would require an automatic increase in the benefits provided to eligible law enforcement officers in those jurisdictions. This change would possibly change pension schedules and create an imbalance between law enforcement officers and other county employees.

From MACo Testimony:

For county governments that participated in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System, this legislation effects an automatic increase in county law enforcement pension benefits, and a new variable in county government pension contributions. The changes in this legislation could widen the gap between retirement options for one portion of the county workforce—law enforcement—and all other county employees. It also could create costs, although the fiscal effects are difficult to predict alongside other law enforcement benefits, such as early retirement options.

An amendment could resolve this county mandate. There is precedent for providing county members of the state system with an option to join the benefit enhancement, too. Such an option could provide a discrete amount of time, for example 12 months, for a county government to determine whether they would join the enhancement.”

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.