State not interested in fixing retirement

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Claiming that the fiscal "sky was falling" on the state retirement trust fund, last session the Murkowski administration and Republican Legislature demanded an immediate solution despite that the $6 billion shortfall in the fund was really caused by administration management. Rather than take time to study the problem and possible solutions, a hastily written and ill-conceived Senate Bill 141 was rammed through the Legislature. The hastily fashioned legislation contains a number of serious problems. For example, the 401(k) Tier IV retirement plan developed with bill 141 does not meet Internal Revenue Service requirements.

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With the Legislature again in session, it seems reasonable to assume that the administration would work to correct any problems connected to the bill. Instead, it seems the administration, awash in oil money, cannot wait to spend it on anything or everything except the greatly feared shortfall in the state retirement system. "Chicken Little" seems to be too busy wining and dining the oil corporations to bother with a mere $6 billion shortfall.

Sen. Elton has placed before the Legislature a bill (293) that would move the date to start the Tier IV plan ahead two more years, allowing legislators to develop the required fixes to 141. No interest in even considering this bill has been shown.

Sen. Seaton has submitted a bill (475) that is said to make some of the fixes needed but has more built-in problems than the original bill.

It appears the administration is really not interested in doing anything except to figure a way to give away Alaska's natural resources to whoever will put the most money into their re-election coffers.

Jack Marshall

Juneau



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