Anti-pension spiking measure not in House budget

Posted by Dan Kane on June 12, 2014 

— A top House budget writer says anti-pension spiking legislation that cleared a committee last week with nothing but praise is likely headed for a vote in the full chamber next week.

House Bill 1195 prevents employees and officials who make $100,000 or more annually from using the pension system to subsidize fatter pensions through dramatic increases in their pay as they near retirement. It comes after The News & Observer reported how four community college presidents and their boards converted tens of thousands of dollars in perks into salary money and greatly enhancing their pensions.

The bill also includes provisions to return the vesting period for state employees and teachers from 10 to five years, and allows state and local employees who leave before they vest in the system to collect the contributions they made plus interest. Those changes would each cost the state about $1 million a year, the state treasurer’s office said. The anti-pension spiking measure would save a small amount of money because it involves a relative few cases each year.

In a short session, it can be difficult to move legislation that had not passed the House or Senate during the previous year’s long session. One way to make it happen is to include it in the budget. Last week, the legislation was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, which crafts the budget.

That didn’t happen. Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, and an Appropriations chairman, said the committee will refer the pension changes for a House vote as a stand-alone bill.

“To my knowledge, there’s no problem in considering those,” Dollar said. “I am not aware of anything controversial.”

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