CO Lawmakers Finally Approve PERA Bill

April 27, 2006 ( - A compromise measure to reform the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) was approved by the Colorado Senate's State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

According to news reports, the bill reaches a compromise between employee groups and PERA in that the Colorado Coalition for Retirement Security agreed to give up a portion of employee raises in return for future hires receiving the same pension benefits as current employees. The reform bill introduced by PERA in December reduced benefits for future workers (See Colorado PERA Issues Funding Reform Proposal ).

The measure is also a compromise on an earlier proposal from Senator Dave Owen (See PERA Reform Bill Introduced in CO Legislature ). Owens bill called for employees to give up 1% of future raises to shore up funds for PERA and for the minimum retirement age for new hires to be bumped to 60.   The new measure calls for deferral of 0.5% of employee raises for the next six years and for the minimum retirement age to be bumped from 50 to 55, the news reports said.

The Rocky Mountain News reports that the governor and state treasurer are unhappy with the new measure’s proposal for the pension plan’s board.   The bill calls for expanding the 16-member PERA board to 20. Members would elect 14 trustees, the governor would add five, and the treasurer would also serve. Under the Owens proposal, which was supported by state treasurer Mike Coffman, the board would have nine members, with five PERA members holding majority control.

“We need greater balance and input from the taxpayers of Colorado so a future legislature doesn’t find itself in this situation,” Coffman said of the new proposal, according to the Rocky Mountain News.