Battle over Louisiana pension funds shaping up

More than $300 million is sitting in state employee and teachers pension system accounts reserved for future cost- of-living raises for retirees.

A state senator wants the 90,000-plus retirees to get an immediate boost in their pension checks. But some of the Louisiana Legislature’s budget committee members are eyeing the dollars to help close a $1.4 billion — and growing — gap between spending and revenues in the state budget.

Cindy Rougeou, Louisiana State Employees Retirement System executive director, said it would not be the first time dollars were “swept” from the retiree cost-of-living accounts. She said it happened in 2009 with dollars going to payments on the systems’ unfunded accrued liability. Commonly called the UAL, the term refers to the amount of money necessary to pay out all promised future benefits. The state contributes extra dollars to pay down the immense debt.

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Ira Wray

Yes indeed.