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This week, the voters of the 24th District gave me the opportunity to continue my work in the Nebraska Legislature, and I am grateful and humbled. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. Please be assured I will continue to work hard for you over the next four years.
After being re-elected, I notified my colleagues that I am planning to seek re-election as the Chair of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee. I have been a member of the Retirement Committee since 2015 and served as Chair of the Retirement Committee since 2016. I am proud of Retirement Committee accomplishments and its oversight of the state-administered and other political subdivision public pension plans.
In 2016 the state’s actuary conducted an Experience Study which was used to establish actuarial assumptions for the state-administered retirement plans. The Committee worked closely with the actuary and the Public Employees Retirement Board to enact statutory changes to reflect the new actuarial assumptions, which included lowering the investment assumption from 8% to 7.5% and updating mortality tables to more accurately reflect the fact that plan members are living longer. Even with these costly assumption changes, the state-administered retirement plans remain well-funded. Last year the funding status of the County Cash Balance Plan was 107%, State Cash Balance 104%, Judges 94%, School Plan 87%, and the Patrol Plan was 85%. The Judges, Patrol and School Plans earned an investment return of 8.5% this year, so I would expect to see funding levels increase when the valuation reports are released later this month.
The Committee has continued its work on pension reform to reduce long-term funding obligations of the defined benefit plans. In 2017, the minimum retirement age was increased from age 55 to 60 with the enactment of the modified Rule of 85 for the School and Omaha School Employees Retirement (OSERS) plans. The actuary calculated that this single pension reform will save the School and OSERS plans approximately $100 million in funding obligations over the next 30 years.
I believe my leadership skills and open-door policy have helped facilitate legislative accomplishments and the long-term sustainability of the public retirement plans. I continue to work closely with the Nebraska Investment Council, State Investment Officer, Nebraska Public Employees Systems, employee groups, the Governor’s office, Chief Justice and Attorney General to address funding, policy and potential litigation issues.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Todd and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.