Even though his mother is a retired school teacher and on occasion asks her eight children for financial assistance to buy gifts and other extras when her state retirement check won't stretch far enough, Sen. Lane Beattie cast the lone vote against a bill intended to bring equity to the state pension system.
Beattie, R-Bountiful, said his concern focuses on how the state can come up with $8 million proponents of SB12 say is necessary to bring the affected retirees to par with other former state employees.But Sen. Boyd Storey, R-Eden, said he considers making financial amends with retired state employees as one of the most pressing issues before the Legislature.
"In my mind, this is the highest priority we have in this state to do right by these people," Storey said during the floor debate of the second reading of the bill.
Members of the Utah Retired School Employees Association say 13,500 people are effected by the inequities. In essence, the disparity was caused by method in which retirements were calculated for people who retired before 1987 and during 1988 and 1989. State employees who retired in 1987 received a higher percentage of their highest annual salary as part of a "one-year window of opportunity," which was a greater percentage than offered in previous years.
The 1990 retirement bill established a higher-percentage retirement package for those retiring in 1990 and beyond.
The Senate passed the bill to the third calendar but because it is a big-ticket item, it will not be considered until later in the session.