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Lawmaker proposes reform for Tennessee's retirement plan

Published On: Feb 25 2013 06:54:01 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 03:55:17 PM CST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

At a news conference today, Tennessee's treasurer said he wants to see sweeping changes with the state's public retirement system.

David Lillard is proposing legislation that he says will ensure the system's longevity.

Lillard stated that the changes would apply to state employees, higher education officials and teachers hired after July 1, 2014 and would not affect the retirement benefits of those currently in the system.

Lillard said Tennessee is doing better than its peers with similar plans, but earnings of the state plan have fallen short of expectations over the past several years.  He said that in 2003, taxpayers spent about $264 million a year to support the system but as of last year, that number had grown to $731 million.

Lillard wants to limit the state's future liability for pension costs by creating a new system that would include raising eligibility requirements and requiring payroll deductions.

Under the current plan, only teachers are required to contribute 5 percent of their salaries. The new proposal would require all state employees to contribute that much.