Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GOP Amendments Strengthen Pension Reform Bill

Amendments offered today by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. and his Republican colleagues strengthened the pension reform bill that was taken up in the House today.

Representative Jones filed more than a dozen amendments and had half of them adopted. The following is a list of some of the amendments adopted:

1. Eliminate “23 and out.” MBTA employees can currently retire after working for 23 years, regardless of age. Under Jones’ amendment, workers must put in 25 years and must be 55 or older before retiring.

2. Calls for a defined contribution study. A special commission must study the costs, savings and benefits of moving new employees to a defined contributory retirement system, similar to a 401k.

3. Prohibit state contractors from simultaneously collecting a pension and paycheck from the state.

“No bill is ever perfect,” said Representative Jones. “However, with the adoption of several GOP amendments, the bill is stronger now than when we entered the chamber earlier this morning. Pension reform has long been the big elephant in the room and taking it on in the manner we did today is a major accomplishment. I am hopeful the final version will be as strong, if not stronger.”