MO Lawmakers Give Final Approval to Pension Reform

July 15, 2010 ( – Missouri lawmakers have given final approval to legislation requiring new state workers to contribute toward their pensions and to stay on the job longer before being eligible for benefits.

The Associated Press reports that under the bill, new state employees will need to contribute 4% of their pay toward their pension benefits. They also will need to spend at least a decade working for the state to qualify for a pension, instead of the current five years.  

The state’s standard retirement age would increase from 62 to 67. State employees currently also can retire when their age plus the number of years working for state government equals 80, so long as they are at least 48 years old, but the new bill would increase that option to a sum of 90, with workers needing to be at least 55 years old.  

However, the AP said lawmakers and other elected state officials would continue to get more favorable treatment, under the new legislation. The bill increases their standard retirement eligibility from age 55 to 62, with six years of service necessary for lawmakers and four years for executive branch officials.  

The final bill did not include a proposal to create a special board to oversee investments for the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System and a separate pension plan for the Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation.  

According to the news report, the retirement system changes — effective only for workers hired beginning in 2011 — are projected to save the state $659 million over the next decade. Part of those savings are intended to offset a 10-year cost of up to $150 million for new automaker tax breaks authorized under a separate bill.  

The bill now goes to Governor Jay Nixon.