Waiting for the pain of state pension shortfall | News | The Press and Standard

by | April 13, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: April 12, 2017 at 11:24 am

Colleton County Council joined every other county government in the state trying to minimize the pain they will feel from the state legislature’s bid to address a shortfall in the pension system.
Council members at the April 4 meeting approved a resolution calling on the members of the Colleton County Legislative Delegation to recognize the pain the plans to address the shortfall were going to cause local government.
The pain has been a moving target. When county officials drafted the resolution expressing their concern, they used the original S.C. House of Representative’s legislation to express their concerns to the legislators.
That bill would force county government to absorb a two-percent increase in the employees’ contributions to the state retirement system and the police officers’ retirement system next year, and then a string of one-percent increases each year after that until 2023.
That two-percent increase in 2018 would pull another $378,243 out of the General Fund. Each subsequent year, another $189,121 would be diverted out of the General Fund for the pension systems.
In the time between drafting the resolution and getting it approved by county council at the April 4 meeting, the numbers had changed as the Columbia debate continued.
Since the passage, County Administrator Kevin Griffin said, the numbers have been altered twice more.
He is anticipating more changes — the House and Senate bills addressing the pension system shortfall were set to go to conference committee this week.
The county’s problems in addressing the additional drain on the general fund revenue are compounded by the fact that an earlier state legislature move restricts the amount of millage increase the county can implement to cover the additional costs.
The resolution also says that the state legislators need to understand that “the county and its employees have been providing their respective contribution to the retirement funds all along, as required by the state retirement system and state law, and neither the county nor its employees are responsible for the under-funding to the retirement plans of the state, an under-funding which accumulated over many years.”

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