LASERS Objects to Governor’s Proposed Pension Changes

February 24, 2012 ( - The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System (LASERS) voted to oppose nearly all the measures contained in Governor Bobby Jindal's proposed overhaul of the state pension system.

Changes in the proposal include raising employee contributions to their retirement by 3% and increasing the retirement age to 67 (see La. Governor Proposes Pension Overhaul). Both were opposed by the LASERS Board of Trustees, New Orleans, The Times-Picayune reports.

Jindal said his plan is necessary to close an $18.5 billion shortfall in the assets in the state’s four retirement systems. However, LASERS Executive Director Cindy Rougeou said LASERS, which is the focus of most of Jindal’s proposed changes, is actuarially sound, according to the news report.

The board did not oppose a proposal that would put new employees into a cash balance plan instead of a traditional pension. In addition, the board voiced support for a proposal that would change the accounting method used to determine how much funding is needed in the system to conform with new guidelines being considered by the Government Accounting Standards Board. That change would not impact benefits for employees, and would save the system about $41 million a year, according to LASERS.