Posted on March 12, 2019 by admin
Measures will save millions for Connecticut taxpayers
As he has done for several years previously, State Rep. John Frey (R-111) once again proposed legislation to reduce Connecticut’s massive pension obligations by prohibiting elected state officials from receiving a state pension, and to exclude mileage reimbursement from pension calculations.
“These are simple concepts that will save Connecticut taxpayers millions of dollars over time, unfortunately I have to introduce these bills every year,” Rep. Frey said. “Our state continues to battle massive budget deficits that cripple the economy and put our state at a major disadvantage when we try to retain or attract residents and businesses. Eliminating these benefits would send a signal that we are serious about turning Connecticut around.”
This session, Rep. Frey proposed bill 6802 – An Act Prohibiting Elected Officials From Receiving A State Pension – that would prohibit any elected state official from receiving a pension, and proposed bill 6779 – An Act Eliminating Mileage Reimbursements, Longevity Payments and Overtime Compensation from the Calculation of Pensions for State Employees – that would use only stated income for pension calculations and eliminate the practice of pension “spiking.”
Last year, Rep. Frey introduced similar measures, including H.B. 6087 that would have ensured state employees’ pensions were based only on stated income, and H.B. 6292, to eliminate state pensions for elected officials. Both of those measures died before receiving consideration by the full legislature.
He said that years of putting off making payments into the pension system have caused costs to grow uncontrollably, with annual contributions to state employees’ pensions rising by a factor of 2.5 since 2008, from approximately $481 million in 2008 to more than $1.2 billion in 2018, according to figures from the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA). Eliminating this benefit for non-vested legislators and using only stated income for pension calculations would reduce the state’s financial burden over time.
Rep. Frey stressed that the part-time makeup of the legislature and Connecticut’s ongoing struggle to balance the state budget, especially considering those large unfunded pension liabilities, are the main factors in his decision to continually press for this needed legislation.
“Forcing taxpayers to foot a substantial retirement bill for a small group of elected part-time officials is bad policy and does not make financial sense,” Rep. Frey said. “State service is an honorable calling and employees absolutely deserve to be paid for their work, but they need not be rewarded with retirement pensions. It’s an unpopular bill with my colleagues but it’s well past time for them to truly look at the factors that negatively influence the budget, do what’s best for the state and eliminate this program.”