Unpacking Missouri’s Legislative Session For Public Pensions

Those who believe all Missourians should be able to retire with dignity and security — especially after a long career of serving our communities — can breathe a little easier this week.

On Friday evening, Missouri’s legislators ceremoniously tossed their papers in the air after adjourning the 2019 regular session. While every session has its ups and downs, this session has adjourned without any major hits to Missouri’s trusted defined benefit pension plans.

This, of course, is not how the session began. Despite overwhelming research that defined benefit pensions are the right choice for workers — and taxpayers — a few legislators took aim at Missouri’s retirement security anyway.

Two of these misguided bills would have gutted two of Missouri’s defined benefit pension plans in favor of risky, 401k-style defined contribution plans. Some Missouri legislators took aim at MOSERS, the pension plan for over 48,000 public workers, and PSRS, the pension plan for over 221,000 active and retired Missouri teachers.

Moves like this would put Missouri’s public servants’ livelihood and ability to retire securely in jeopardy.

This year, common sense prevailed — likely thanks to grassroots pressure heavily panning these proposals. This is a victory and the right move for all Missourians.

We know defined benefit pensions such as MOSERS and PSRS are one of the best ways to honor and provide for workers who have dedicated their lives to serving our communities. All Missourians deserve to retire with security and dignity — instead of living in constant anxiety or effectively putting retirement off altogether.

Our work is never done. Threatening bills like HB649 and HB864 will continue to be filed — and some states face even graver threats.

Stay tuned as we continue to build this movement through the summer and fall.

Missouri Retirement Security Coalition

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We work to protect the promise of a secure & dignified retirement for MO’s teachers, firefighters, police officers, librarians, and other public workers.