Jan 12, 2015 4:18 PM
New Hampshire police present and past brief lawmakers on pension landscape
CONCORD - With more than 100 changes in public pension laws since 2007, the state's police chiefs and retired state troopers decided to educate lawmakers on the state of the retirement system today.
The New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs and Retired Troopers Association hosted a briefing at the Police Standards and Training Academy.
Meanwhile, NH1 confirmed a longtime, Hooksett Republican will be the choice of House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, to chair a special committee to craft future reform to public pensions.
Jasper told NH1 last Friday the system is not in crisis but needs further changes if it is going to be able to cover all the costs of retirements in decades to come.
Ernie Loomis, president of the retired troopers collective, pointed out the the system is only 60.7 percent paid for though plans are in place to increase that support to 70.1 percent by 2024 and 81 percent by 2031.
"Providing what is now known as the presumed unfunded liability for the New Hampshire Retirement System which currently sits at about $4.3 billion dollars which is a scary figure, just to say it, never mind write all those zeroes and look at it, it's a scary figure,'' Loomis told the group.
Police executives also informed lawmakers about the challenges of managing a work force that has people in the same jobs facing different pensions.
For example, anyone who retired prior to 2012 only has to work 20 years and could have collected a pension at age 45. But anyone who was hired after 2011 has to work at least 25 years to qualify for the pension and until age 52.
Greenfield Police Chief Tara Laurent said it causes "some issues'' among the personnel.
"They may be well thought out. the problem is if i am doing the same job as someone sitting next to me we are getting very, very different benefits at that level, at that patrolman level, that can cause some issues,'' Laurent said.
Last month, the State Supreme Court ruled the Legislature had the legal right to make public employees - going forward - to take more from their paychecks to cover the cost of their pensions.