We are in the homestretch of the 2022 session. Last week, the House Majority Leader, who is responsible for running the floorwork in the House, announced that representatives should not make any dinner or weekend plans for the next couple of weeks because they may have to work evenings and weekends to finish their work before they are required to adjourn sine die. The House worked on the floor until about 8 pm Friday but was able to avoid having to work this weekend.
The major issue still outstanding this session for the CSPA is the PERA payback bill. As introduced, HB 1029 would transfer $303.6 million to PERA to make up for the $225 million cancelled transfer that was supposed to be made in 2020. This $303.6 million would include the cancelled $225 million, plus an estimate of $78.6 million for investment gains that would have accrued on the cancelled transfer from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022.
If you have not already done so, it is very important for you to contact your representative through the email you received last Thursday and ask them to support the full $303.6 million transfer. Currently, there is a behind the scenes effort to avoid making up for the cancelled transfer and your representative needs to hear that that is unacceptable. This effort includes transferring $605 million this year, which would include the $225 million the State is already obligated to make for 2022, plus an additional $380 million. However, instead of making up for the 2020 cancelled transfer, the additional $380 million will be credited towards each of the next two years ($190 million each in 2023 and 2024). As a result, the transfers in each of the next two years would only be $35 million each instead of $225 million and the State will still have not made up for the cancelled 2020 transfer.
This is unacceptable and wrong! All parties impacted by SB 18-200 (current state employees, retirees, and local employers) except the State, have been required to pay their fair share under SB 18-200. Now the State is trying to avoid its obligation by ignoring its duty to make up for the cancelled 2020 transfer. We need to support the sponsors of HB 1029 – Rep. Shannon Bird (D-Westminster) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs) – and not let the State get away with ignoring its obligation when the State is requiring you to fulfill yours (i.e., increased PERA contributions if you are a current employee or reduced COLA adjustments if you are a retiree).
HB 1029 is calendared to be heard in the House Finance Committee this afternoon and while I do not anticipate an attempt to amend the bill today, it is likely coming later this week. We need to let all representatives know that the State not fulfilling its obligations under SB 18-200 is unacceptable. Please ask your representative to support the full $303.6 million transfer in HB 1029. If we let the State ignore its duty to make up for the cancelled 2020 transfer, what is to prevent it from cancelling future transfers? Remember, PERA indicated that missing the $225 million transfer in 2020 is anticipated to have a $900 million impact on PERA long term.
As of Friday, there have been 623 bills introduced – 397 in the House and 226 in the Senate. Only 17 days until the General Assembly is required to adjourn sine die.