Lichtenegger files to end retirement benefits for state reps - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Lichtenegger files to end retirement benefits for state reps

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State Rep. Donna Lichtenegger has filed legislation that would eliminate retirement benefits for members of the Missouri House and Senate.

Lichtenegger's bill, HB 93, would put an end to members accruing creditable service for the state retirement plan beginning January 1, 2014.

Lichtenegger said her bill is the fulfillment of a promise she made to the people of Southeast Missouri.

"I know this bill will not be popular with many of my legislative colleagues, but then I wasn't elected to gain new friends," said Lichtenegger, R-Jackson. "With state revenue shortages continuing, we as public servants to the Missouri taxpayers should take responsibility to find ways to ease the burden."

Lichtenegger pointed out that the General Assembly most recently reformed the state pension system during a special session in 2010.

The bill passed by the House and Senate increased the amount employees contribute to the system with the goal of making the system more viable for the future and reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars allocated through the budget.

Lichtenegger said her bill is a logical next step to reduce the financial burden on the retirement system and Missouri taxpayers.

"A state legislator is someone who should endear public trust," Lichtenegger added. "It is a term-limited office and therefore of a relatively short duration. The cost to the state continues to grow as so many who have served for only a short time are added to the retirement plan. It's time for the state to look at other avenues such as a 401(a) contribution program that will benefit legislators without costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year."

She urges Missourians to contact their respective state legislators to urge support for this bill.

Lichtenegger filed her bill Dec. 27. The legislative session began Wednesday, Jan. 9 and concludes Friday, May 17.

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