Governor agrees with Stapleton's long-held position on PERA





Governor agrees with Stapleton’s long-held position on PERA

Both oppose using taxpayer money to bail out state pension


DENVER – Nov. 2, 2017 – Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton commended Gov. John Hickenlooper for submitting a budget proposal to the legislature that does not put a greater burden on the Colorado taxpayers.


“Taxpayers have already paid their fair share into Colorado’s broken pension system, and asking them for more money to save the fund is a non-starter in any negotiation,” said Stapleton.  “I hope the governor will not give in to lobbyists and special interest groups backed by the unions.  We would welcome Gov. Hickenlooper to join our team as we attempt to fix PERA before it bankrupts school districts and municipalities across Colorado.”


Currently, employer, or taxpayer, contributions into PERA are at staggering levels. Before PERA comes back to the taxpayers for even more money, Colorado's 178 school districts will be required to match teacher salaries with more than 20 percent contributions into the PERA. This is taxpayer money that should be going into the classrooms, not backfilling an unsustainable pension system.


Last legislative session, Stapleton and Sen. Tim Neville tried to head off the PERA board from asking for more taxpayer money by capping employer contributions with Senate Bill 17-113.  Democrats killed the measure in committee. 


Now, Colorado’s Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) is gearing up for their own 2018 legislative push that will ask state agencies and school districts to increase their PERA contributions by up to 4 percent.  Stapleton was the lone dissenter on the PERA board over this onerous proposal.


Despite past attempts to “reform” PERA, such as Senate Bill 1 from the 2010 session, the fund still faces a $32 million shortfall.  During Stapleton’s tenure as Treasurer, he has repeatedly asked PERA leadership to be fully transparent with their numbers and acknowledge just how deep the problem goes.  It wasn’t until this year that Greg Smith and PERA were even willing to accept there is a problem.