BISMARCK, ND (KFGO/PRAIRIE PUBLIC) – An Interim Legislative Committee has voted to send two bills to North Dakota’s Legislative Management Committee to change the state employees’ pension plan to a “defined contribution” plan. “.
It is currently a “defined benefit” plan.
The change would not affect employees already enrolled in the plan. This would start with new employees hired after January 1, 2024 or 2025.
The committee was tasked with proposing a bill to move to a defined contribution plan.
West Fargo Republican Representative Austen Schauer said in 2013 that the unfunded liability for the current retirement program reached $1 billion. He said now it’s $1.7 billion.
“It’s a failure on the part of our team and our state and we have to understand that,” Schauer said. “No one likes change. No one likes the idea of going from one plan to another. The pension plan has worked well for those who have worked for many, many years. We have to honor and respect that, but at the same time, we have a major problem. So, yes, it may be a historical overhaul, but we have no other choice.
House Minority Leader Josh Boschee of Fargo said he could not support the change.
“With us limited in the ability to explore other options or find ways to correct the current plan and – as Rep. Schauer mentioned, it is our own undoing by the inability of the Legislature to act before,” Boschee said.
The committee’s vote was 9 to 3 in favor of the bills.
If the Legislative Management Committee approves them, they will be introduced in the 2023 legislative session.