The state Senate starts work this week on a pension reform proposal that could affect one out of every 100 Missourians. Missouri has 55-to-60-thousand full-time equivalent employees. Many of them are in a state pension plan to which they make no contribution. Thousands are drawing pensions into which they made no contributions while they worked. .
The state Senate will be considering a bill that will give new state workers a choice—a plan they don’t have to contribute to, or one they can contribute to. Senate leader Charlie Shields of St. Joseph thinks the defined contribution plan could attract people the state needs but who don’t plan to make a career in state government. People planning to make a career out of state government can opt for the defined benefit plan, which requires no contribution but has a longer vesting period.
Shields thinks the state will be saving $50 million to $100 million a year in pension contributions about five years after the new plan goes into effect. His plan affects only future state employees. It changes nothing in the present benefits state retirees get.