Last week, we reported  to you about an attempt by GOP Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound) to take over the pension commission leadership with the help of  only DFL members from the House and Senate. By joining forces with the DFL, Rep. Smith signaled that he would not support pension reform (though frankly, we never expected his support based on his voting record). He also stalled the formation of the pension commission and had the audacity to reprimand his Republican colleagues for not cooperating with his attempted putsch. We are waiting to see how the GOP leadership responds; we’ll report to you as soon as there is a clear direction.

We are expecting to see some pension related legislation introduced in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Pat Anderson, our former State Auditor and MNFMI president, has been a great resource for us and the legislature. It’s said that politics is the “Art of the Possible.” That will be especially true with Mark Dayton occupying the governor’s office.
Some of the pension related bills to reach committee hearings were Sen. Gretchen Hoffman’s and Sen. Mike Parry’s bill that would have reduced the state’s contribution to pensions by 3%, while increasing the employee contribution by the same amount. The bill, which attempts to alleviate taxpayer expense, has not made it out of committee. The other was the “Buesgens Bomb” lobbed by Rep. Mark Buesgens at the entire pension system! Needless to say, it did not get far but many people appreciated the effort.
While most lawmakers are acutely aware of the national conversation about pensions, GOP leadership is still trying to figure out how the pension piece fits in the Budget puzzle. We are doing our best to help them get there! The public employee unions are working overtime this year—especially since Wisconsin hit the headlines this winter. You are welcome to join Kim and Bob Shipman in the “Pension Weeds” for in-depth news and analysis.