The Louisiana Senate Retirement Committee adopted two key components of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s pension reform plan Monday despite objections from opponents who said some aspects of the measures were unconstitutional.
The plan includes raising the retirement age, and a 40% increase in contributions from employees covered by the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, and some members of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.
Jindal originally asked for an increase in the retirement age to 67 from the current 55 with 25 years of service. The revised plan includes a gradual ramp up in the retirement age.
Frank Jobert, chief executive of the Louisiana Retired State Employees Association, said Jindal’s plan would break existing retirement contracts with state employees. If the plan becomes law, he said, the association would file a lawsuit to overturn it as unconstitutional.
A report from Jindal executive counsel Elizabeth Murrill said the Legislature does have the authority to amend employee pension contracts.
Committee chairman Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said he would work with the employee groups to ease their concerns before the pension package is adopted by the Senate.
Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, said the pension reform measure was not a perfect bill “but it does get us closer to ensuring that the promises we make are the promises we keep.”