Hawaii Cops Sue over Pension Contributions

April 25, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The union representing Hawaii state police has sued the Hawaii state legislature for balancing the state budget with $346.9 million that the union claims was diverted from the public employee pension plan since 1999.

Hawaii’s Organization of Police Officers wants a judge to rule it unconstitutional for lawmakers to cut state pension contributions and to keep the lawmakers from taking any more retirement funds from the $8.7 billion Employees Retirement System (ERS).

“Through a variety of legislative contrivances, the state has raided, skimmed, and otherwise diverted funds from the ERS for its own benefit and that of its political subdivisions,” the lawsuit said.

State Senate Vice President Colleen Hanabusa, an attorney, said the Hawaii constitution says there’s a contractual obligation to make sure that the benefits are provided. “How we provide these benefits is within the purview of the legislature,” she said.

ERS makes pension payments for almost 30,000 former state employees.