The Capitol Record

The Capitol Record

Tuesday Q&A: Sen. Mark Schoesler on pension reform and more

Today's Q&A is with Sen. Mark Schoesler, a Republican from Ritzville. He's a sponsor of the bipartisan pension reform bill that had it's first hearing today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Q: Let’s talk about the bill to reform the pension system. It had it’s first public hearing today – it’s a bipartisan bill. What are the most important changes in the bill? Schoesler: The most important change is simply it guarantees that we will do a reasonably good job of funding our pensions. If it’s not a constitutional amendment, the next legislature in town could suspend it, amend it and it goes bye bye. Q: But if voters don't approve it, what happens with pension reform? Schoesler: I think that the fact that if we go to the voters and tell them that fully funding our current law pension obligations is necessary and it’s bipartisan , I think the voters will agree with us. (If not) then we're back on our own again. It doesn't do it any good to put it in statute. Look at 601 -- 601 is still on the books, but it doesn't mean anything, and that's how pensions are. If we don't put it in the constitution -- 601 created a Rainy Day Fund, and it actually worked at one point. But between citizen initiatives and creative legislators, there was none after a period of time. That’s why a constitutional amendment for the Rainy Day Fund was absolutely necessary. So, if we’re going to make a really good faith effort with pensions, we have to do the same. Q: And this is a bipartisan bill – are there changes you would make if you were writing it on your own? Continue reading Tuesday Q&A: Sen. Mark Schoesler on pension reform and more
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