JUNEAU – Rep. Grier Hopkins’ bill, which seeks to add the stability of a Defined Benefit System to the list of retirement options for Alaska’s police, firefighters, educators and other public employees was passed without objection from the House Labor and Commerce committee.
“Alaska lags behind every other state in the Union in recognizing the commitment, hard work and dedication exemplified by our public employees,” noted Rep. Grier Hopkins (D – Fairbanks). “The lack of a Defined Benefit option along with the exclusion from Social Security creates the kind of instability which has resulted in the hemorrhaging of our vital public employees to other states. HB 220 is a responsible and conservatively structured bill that will improve our ability to recruit and retain top caliber professionals.”
Too often, state and local governments will invest hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in training, equipping and deploying public employees, only to see those employees leave Alaska when the inadequacy of our retirement system comes to light. HB220 creates a new cost-neutral defined benefit (pension) option which shares future risk with employees while providing the same health benefit system currently in place for defined contribution employees.
HB 220 now heads to the House Finance Committee for consideration.