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Legislative majority leaders say the state worker retirement plan will probably be one of the last issues decided in the session

Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot)
Legislative Council
Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot)

Before crossover, the North Dakota House and senate were on different paths to try and solve a big unfunded liability in the retirement plan for public employees.

The House passed a bill that would add some money to the PERS plan – to make sure retirees will get what they have been promised. It also changes the plan from a “defined benefit” to a defined contribution for workers hired after Jan. first, 2025. The Senate passed a measure to add money to PERS, and keep a defined benefit plan, allowing new hires to choose which plan they want.

House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R-Dickinson) chaired an interim committee that came up with the plan the House passed.

"I think reasonable minds can disagee, but also come to a solution that might not be 100% of what everybody likes," Lefor said. "But as long as it's great policy for the taxpayers of North Dakota and for our retirees, as well as to recruit and retain employees, then I think we have done our job."

Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot) said right now, he's focused on ways to reduce the costs of the cash injections into the defined benefit plan for this biennium.

"They're quite a lot — $300 million," Hogue said. "I'm hopeful we can, whether it's HB 1040, or the bill from Sen. Sean Cleary (R-Bismarck), I'm hopeful we can reduce at least this biennium's cost for either transitioning or staying in the defined benefit plan."

So, which plan does he support?

"I'm still undecided," Hogue said.

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