Missouri Senate OKs Pension Reform Measure

April 13, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Missouri senators have endorsed legislation to change the state's public retirement systems, including increasing the minimum retirement age and requiring workers to start contributing to their pensions.

An Associated Press news report said the bill, S.B. 714,  affects Missouri’s main pension plan — the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) – and a retirement system for the Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation. It only would affect new employees added to state payrolls starting in 2011.

Under the Senate bill, new workers would be required to pay 4% of their pay into the retirement system. Currently they do not pay anything and receive benefits funded by pension investment income and state dollars.

The legislation also increases minimum retirement ages to get full benefits. Ordinary state workers currently can retire at 62 years old after five years of service; that would be increased to 67 years old after 10 years of service. State employees also currently can retire when their age plus the number of years working for state government equal 80 if the worker is at least 48 years old. That option would be increased to 90, and the worker would need to be at least 55 years old.

According to the AP, senators approved the measure by voice vote, and it needs another round of approval before it can move to the House.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Jason Crowell predicted the measure would save the state $34 million next year and a combined $315 million over five years.

The Associated Press said the legislation also allows the state auditor to review pension systems (see MO Bill Would Give State Auditor More Oversight of Pensions) and establishes a new board to help manage MOSERS assets and the system for the Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation.