UNM RA Legislative Session Plans
February 13, 2024
December 2, 2019
Greetings UNM Retirees,
We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebrations with family and friends. We are looking forward to seeing you at the UNM Retiree Association Holiday Open House, Sunday, December 8 at the Albuquerque Country Club, 601 Laguna Blvd. SW, 1 pm to 4 pm. You should have received an email and snail mail invitation with a RSVP 11/27 date.
The 2020 legislative session begins January 21, and legislation may be pre-filed beginning December 16, 2019 thru January 17, 2020. Your UNM Retiree Association Board and Legislative Committee members have spent the summer and fall representing your earned, pension benefit interests at the Educational Retirement Board Stakeholders meetings. Our primary focus was to protect your Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) from being further eroded, paused or discontinued. We were successful in securing a legislative plan that will not affect your COLA!
The following ERB 2020 Legislative Plan was approved by the ERB Board of Trustees on October 18, 2019. Stakeholders from a variety of teacher, educational and retiree organizations approved the plan unanimously. We are asking the state to value and support educators by increasing the amount they allot to the ERB pension fund over a three-year time period. Last year we asked for 1% over a three-year time period (3%) and they voted on a .025% increase instead. The plan is as follows:
1. “Fifty million dollars plus an amount equivalent to 1% of annual salaries of all members employed by a local administrative unit and participants in the alternative retirement plan as of June 30, 2019, plus salary increases to members and participants in fiscal year 2020 in the General Appropriation Act of 2019 shall be transferred from the general fund to the educational retirement fund.”
2. “On July 1, 2021, an amount equivalent to 2% of the annual salaries of all members employed by a local administrative unit and participants in the alternative retirement plan as of June 30, 2021, shall be transferred from the general fund to the educational retirement fund.”
3. “On July 1, 2022 fifty million dollars plus an amount equivalent to 3% of the salaries of all members employed by a local administrative unit and participants in the alternative retirement plan as of June 30, 2022 shall be transferred from the general fund in to the educational retirement fund.”
This plan must now be approved by the New Mexico Investment and Pension Oversight Committee (IPOC) and assigned a bill sponsor(s), and filed with the appropriate assigned number(s). It is not over yet. As we experienced last year - anything can happen.
There is an IPOC meeting this Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 9:00 a.m. at the State Capitol, Room 307, Santa Fe. The agenda for the meeting is primarily concerned with the Governor’s Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) Task Force recommendations. One recommendation affects the PERA COLA. Although the ERB plan does not affect our COLA, we have heard rumblings from legislators that ERB retiree’s COLA could also be affected by changes they want to make to the PERA current and future retiree’s COLA, so we understand this meeting can have ramifications for our COLA as well. The ERB COLA and other earned pension benefits are already much less generous than PERA’s and have been so for many years. While we are hoping this will not occur, we are prepared to mobilize against any legislative action to assign the existing ERB COLA to the PERA Task Force COLA recommendations. The UNM Retiree Association will have representation at this meeting, but members are also encouraged to attend. You can also watch the IPOC webcast meeting live at http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00293/harmony.
The next step in protecting your ERB retiree COLA is to call Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham at (505) 476-2200 and voice your concerns. The second step is to contact IPOC Committee members and ask them to support the ERB Legislative 2020 Plan as written with no COLA changes. The third step is to get to know your state senator’s and representative’s contact information before the legislative session begins and voice your concerns to them about not making changes to the ERB COLA. You can find your legislator by address at - https://www.nmlegis.gov/Members/Find_By_Address.
We have attached the following four documents for your convenience:
- IPOC meeting agenda for 12/4/19
- A list of IPOC Committee members and advisors
- House Representatives contact information
- Senate Representatives contact information
(NOTE: These are located at http://retiree.unm.edu/reports/index.html)
UNM RA Board President, Beverly Kloeppel
UNM RA, Board Member & Legislative Committee Chair, Breda Bova
UNM RA, Board Member & Legislative Committee Co-chair, Dubra Karnes-Padilla