GOP pushes PERA pension changes through committee

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DENVER — The House Finance Committee voted to approve the first of two bills aimed at reforming the state’s pension system for public employees.

Although the room was packed with retirees opposing the measures, as it was last week when both bills were put on hold, the GOP-controlled committee held firm and voted right down party lines to send the legislation to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 1150 seeks to change how a government employee’s pension is calculated so that workers can’t “game the system” by paying less into it based on their average salary only to reap a much larger pension when it comes time to collect if they’ve been promoted and earned a large salary increase.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, would require that a state worker’s pension is based on seven years of their highest salary, not just three as is currently the case.

On Thursday, Priola changed the bill so it doesn’t impact a majority of state workers with an amendment so that it only affects new hires or those who have been working for the state for less than five years.

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