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Letter to the editor: PERA needs help


PERA needs help

As an educator I oppose Senate Bill 200 in its current iteration.

I go to work each day because I know that what I do is important, impactful, and bigger than a means to an end. However, the future financial security of our public service employees is important too.

Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) serves over half a million people in this state and it needs help. The pension plan’s unfunded liability needs to be fixed and the original PERA Board recommendations provided a number of shared sacrifices that would move the plan in the right direction. 

SB 200 goes beyond the PERA Board’s recommendations, but even many of the bill’s additions are acceptable to me as long as they serve to secure the future of PERA and the benefits promised. A defined contribution option does not do this. The defined contribution option needs to be removed from SB 200.

The original intent of SB 200 was to shore up the unfunded liability of PERA through shared sacrifice. A last-minute decision to remove the employer contribution component of SB 200 seems to do nothing of the sort — rather, it seems to place an unfair share of the burden on public service workers themselves. I am more than willing to do my part to contribute to my future retirement benefit, but it seems only fair that all parties do their part as well to ensure the future of PERA.

PERA needs help. SB 200 doesn’t get the job done.

Justin Riffle

Teacher, Heritage High School


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