House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, says the state’s public pension system – known as MOSERS – is strong but has had some poor returns in the past. In 2017, the system’s funding deficit exceeded $5.2 billion. He says a lot of the problems with returns are “self-inflicted” based on some of the assumptions made in its actuarially-accrued unfunded liability.
“The House budget did not recommend the full funding that MOSERS requested last year because of the way they do their analysis. It largely ignores the reforms passed in the 2011 plan that required longer vesting periods for new employees as well as contributions out of people’s paychecks into the system,” he says.
According to State Treasurer Eric Schmitt’s office, the system is 60% funded. Pension experts consider 80% and up to be healthy.
Fitzpatrick says John Watson, who has been fired as the executive director, was not
qualified for the job. Watson served as the chief of staff to former Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
“I really do think as long as they can get a good executive director in there, someone who knows about good pension plans pretty well, and they do a national search, then I feel like they’ll be in good shape long term.”
Last year, Missouri offered buyouts to about 17,000 terminated state employees. The move was estimated to save the state about $7 million in annual administrative costs.
The MOSERS system includes more than 115,000 current and former state workers.