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States Seek to Cut Back Teacher Pension Costs

Heading into this year's legislative sessions, a lot of governors and lawmakers were vowing to force down the costs of their states' pension systems, including those covering teachers. Now some of those proposals are taking shape, most of which seek to require workers to contribute more out of their paychecks to cover their retirements, or reduce the amount the government has to chip in.

A few of the pension hot-spots:

  • Ohio: More than 180,000 Ohio teachers would have to "work longer, pay more toward their retirement and then eventually receive smaller pension checks," if proposed changes to the state teachers' retirement system are approved, the Dayton Daily News reports. It would mark the first cut in the plan's 91-year history.
  • Florida: Word appears to be leaking out slowly about Gov. Rick Scott's plans to cut pensions for teachers and other state employees. Scott has proposed to cut government spending and cut taxes, but he'll need to save money in other areas to accomplish that, the Miami Herald tells us. Legislative leaders seem interested in moving from the current "defined benefit" system to a "defined contribution," or 401(k)-style plan. See my Quality Counts story for an explainer of these plans, and of states' pension costs.
  • New Jersey: Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, has unveiled a plan that calls for cuts to state workers' pensions. He says his proposal is fairer to workers than the deeper cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
For a primer on pension issues, check out the National Conference of States Legislatures' site, which offers background resources and explains the steps taken by governors and lawmakers around the country during the 2010 sessions.

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