Tag: Sen. Arthur Orr

States Facing Tough Choices Regarding Retirement Plans

Alabama is not the only state facing tough decisions on retirement plans.  Governors across the country are being faced with decisions about how to get by with less.  Revenues are down and federal stimulus money has dried up and Governors are having to prioritize.

In Alabama, legislation for 2012 may focus on the best way for the state to continue paying pension benefits provided to retirees. The Times Daily reports:

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee, believes the state cannot afford to continue paying more each year  toward state and education employee pensions.

“If the employer’s share that the state pays continues to go up, it is unsustainable,” Orr said. “That is revenue that comes out of the education and General Fund budgets that also fund services.”

In one analytic assessment, state pension funds could run out of money by 2023.

The issue of public pension benefits has taken the spotlight as states trying to pull out of the recession still have lower-than-hoped tax revenue.  Several states are weighing their choices on how to adequately provide promised pensions to retirees, including providing optional 401(k)-style retirement contributions with no guarantee of defined pension benefits.  Alabama lawmakers increased the amounts employees will have to pay toward their pensions in this last legislative session.  Whatever route the states’ choose to take, one thing is certain–the current course is unsustainable.

Legislative Week In Review

This was a busy 3-day week for the Alabama Legislature.  On Tuesday, the House passed one of the most significant pieces of legislation on the Republican agenda–Rep. Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act–and the Senate voted to end the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).  Several important pieces of legislation also came out of committee on Tuesday including:

SB 17–Senator Cam Ward’s bill to cut ballot access requirements by half making it easier for independent and third party candidates to get on the ballot.

HB 56–Representative Micky Hammon’s immigration bill which requires businesses who receive economic development incentives to use e-verify, makes the entry, presence and involvement in economic activity of unauthorized illegal aliens a crime in this state, and requires law enforcement to verify the citizenship during routine enforcement of local, county or state laws.

SB112–Legislation by Senator Arthur Orr to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution.

On Wednesday,  the House passed an amendment to the Alabama Constitution protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation (HB64).

Thursday ended the legislative week with the Senate passing the Rolling Reserve Budget Act and the House passing the DROP legislation.  There was, however, some confusion with the DROP legislation in the House regarding the date DROP would end.  The enacting legislation appears to require the state to give participants 90 days to get out of the program, and the legislation the House was considering ended the program on April 1, 2011.  Some legislators were concerned the bill could be thrown out in court because of the failure to give the 90 day notice.  Rep. Harry Shiver introduced an amendment to move the end date to June 1, 2011.  While that amendment passed, it was later stripped.

Governor Bentley signed the Rolling Reserve Budget Act into law at 11:30 this morning.

Next week is Spring Break for the legislators.

Tuesday’s Legislative Activity

It was a busy day in Montgomery, Rep. Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act HB 57 passed the House (you can find more information about the legislation here) and the Alabama Senate voted (23-12) to end the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) SB72 saving taxpayers millions of dollars.  For more information on DROP and why it needs to be repealed, click here.  You can find out how your legislators voted on both bills by clicking here.

Beyond that, Several pieces of legislation passed out of committee today:

SB 17–Senator Cam Ward’s bill to cut ballot access requirements by half making it easier for independent and third party candidates to get on the ballot.

HB 56–Representative Micky Hammon’s immigration bill which requires businesses who receive economic development incentives to use e-verify, makes the entry, presence and involvement in economic activity of unauthorized illegal aliens a crime in this state, and requires law enforcement to verify the citizenship during routine enforcement of local, county or state laws.

SB112–Legislation by Senator Arthur Orr to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution.