Zarelli plan to cut retirement benefits draws foes

first_imgA Southwest Washington lawmaker’s plan to cut retirement benefits to future state employees received plenty of flak during a public hearing on Thursday.State Sen. Joseph Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, said his bill would save the state $2.3 billion over 25 years.Part of the proposal “frees up money we can use now in our current budget crisis to the tune of $130 million,” Zarelli said during the hearing. The state faces a $1.5 billion budget shortfall.But several union groups showed up on Thursday to oppose the legislation, saying Senate Bill 6378 would discourage people from a career in public service. Public service jobs such as teaching don’t pay as well as jobs in the private sector, but their draw has been stable benefits, opponents of the bill said.“Our system works well, and I don’t see a reason to reform,” said Matt Zuvich of the Washington Federation of State Employees. He added that Washington state’s pension plan is rated one of the top three in the nation.The proposed bill would exclude future teachers, classified school staff, some law enforcement staff, and local and state government employees from the state’s “Plan 2” retirement plan, which guarantees a certain amount of money upon retirement. Instead, these types of state employees hired after July 1 would automatically be enrolled in the state’s “Plan 3,” a hybrid retirement option that in part resembles a 401(k) plan.last_img

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