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Treasurer Schmitt votes against delaying paying off state pension liabilities

Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt Thursday voted against a proposal for the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) to delay paying off state pension liabilities, saying it would be detrimental to Missouri’s long-term fiscal health. Schmitt, a member of the MOSERS Board of Trustees, has long advocated for addressing Missouri’s looming $5 billion pension crisis and giving taxpayers a more honest view of the plan’s funding status.

“Today’s vote is a disservice to Missouri taxpayers and state employees alike, and I’m disappointed that a select group of board members chose to undermine a system that already faces many long-term challenges.“ Schmitt said. “As Missouri’s Chief Financial Officer, I cannot in good conscience support any policy that kicks the can down the road on this issue. It is time for the legislature and the MOSERS Board to come together and start making tough decisions in the best interest of the plan’s participants and the taxpayers who are on the hook for its shortcomings.”

The 5-6 vote dramatically reset the pension plan’s 30 year amortization period, which represents how long it will take for the state to zero out its liabilities. The vote came after the board separately approved further lowering the plan’s assumed rate of return – a move long called for by Schmitt.

MOSERS has the lowest funding ratio of all AAA-rated states. Schmitt contends long-term pension liabilities threaten Missouri’s AAA rating and could impair the legislature’s ability to fund priorities like transportation, education and disability services if left unaddressed.

Last year, Treasurer Schmitt brought attention to the issue of unrealistic pension assumptions when he expressed concern to the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement that the state’s unfunded liability for MOSERS has surpassed $5.2 billion. Schmitt also appeared on Bloomberg TV last month to discuss his efforts to sound the alarm on the long-term impact of Missouri’s pension issues.



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