Committee approves bill that would restore state’s pension promise
A House committee approved a bill Wednesday that would reinstate a piece of the state’s former contribution to cities’ and towns’ shares of their employees’ pension costs.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, said it would be a step to “restore the promise” that the state made decades ago to help pay for public employees’ retirements.
When the Legislature decided in 2011 to eliminate the state’s 25 percent share, the burden fell entirely on property taxpayers, which Cushing said amounted to “the largest single property tax increase in state history.”
The Hampton Democrat’s legislation, House Bill 413, would require the state government to pay roughly $40 million a year by contributing 15 percent of the employer’s share of pension costs. Historically, the state had contributed as much as 40 percent, beginning in 1967. It currently pays nothing, and the burden has led to skyrocketing payments to the retirement system from the state’s towns, cities and school districts.