Albuquerque Journal

Education pension proposal advances in Senate

- JOURNAL STAFF REPORTS

SANTA FE — A proposal intended to strengthen the financial condition of the pension system for New Mexico educators passed its first committee 5-3 Monday.

The legislatio­n, Senate Bill 42, would require schools and other employers covered by the Educationa­l Retirement Board to pay more into the system, with increases phased in over the next four years.

It’s expected to cost about $34 million more each year, reaching an annual cost of $136million when fully phased in, according to legislativ­e analysts. Employers would increase their contributi­on rates by 1 percentage point in each of the next four years.

Supporters described it as a necessary step to ensure the pension system doesn’t run out of money eventually.

“This will go a long way toward the solvency of this fund,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, an Albuquerqu­e Democrat and sponsor of the bill.

The measure would head next to the Senate Finance Committee, potentiall­y its last stop before reaching the full Senate. It passed the Senate Education Committee along party lines, with Democrats in favor.

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