SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to shore up a pension program for public school employees and higher education workers in New Mexico cleared the House on Saturday, but there’s a disagreement among lawmakers and unions over what should be done to ensure the retirement system remains solvent for decades to come.
The bill passed by the House would establish a minimum retirement age of 55 for educators hired since mid-2007, a provision covering almost 20,000 current workers. It requires them to reach that age before drawing any pension benefits.
The House measure also makes permanent a 1.5 percent increase in pension contributions that was required for most educational employees in 2009 but scheduled to expire in 2013. If the measure is enacted, educators will contribute 9.4 percent of their salaries into their retirement program. Government employers also pay into the pension system.
Rep. Mimi Stewart, an Albuquerque Democrat, described the legislation as a “first step” in strengthening the finances of the retirement program administered by the Educational Retirement Board.
“All of our state pension funds are in trouble,” Stewart said.
The House approved the bill 66-2 and sent it to the Senate, where a Login to read more