PERA Plan To Undergo Legal Scrutiny

Dec 26, 2012

Plans to shore up New Mexico's struggling public employees retirement fund could include cuts to benefits.

The Albuquerque Journal reports some legal analysts say the state constitution would prevent things like cuts to annual cost of living increases, but other legal experts say the funds can be changed in order to maintain solvency.

Public Employees Retirement Association Ex. Director Wayne Propst says as long as base benefits are maintained, changes are allowed by the constitution. 

But former state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Baca says cutting things like cost of living increases are not allowed under the state constitution, and would result in settlements for people whose benefits are cut.

Lawmakers will hear the PERA proposal to cut cost of living increases during the 60 day legislative session that begins in January.

PERA covers 24,000 retirees and over 50.000 workers. The fund has over $6 billion in unfunded liabilities, future benefits owed that are not covered by assets on hand.