NH News
8:04 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Court Shoots Down Key Pension Provision

Public employees say they were awarded a significant victory yesterday in Superior Court.

A judge has ruled that it’s unconstitutional to ask certain workers to pay more for their retirement.

Last year, lawmakers overhauled the state’s public pension system for firefighters, police, teachers and others.

One key provision called for all workers to kick in more money towards their retirement.

But yesterday in Superior Court, a judge ruled that it’s unconstitutional to raise so-called contribution rates on anyone who has more than 10 years on the job.

The employees’ attorney Glenn Milner says the problem with the plan was lawmakers tried to change the rules in the middle of the game.

“They said, well we need some more money so we are going to increase the employee rates...and the court said, you can’t do that, that breaks the deal between the state and its employees.”

Republican state Senator Jeb Bradley – the architect of the most recent round of pension reform – points out that many of the changes in the plan were upheld.

Bradley says, long-term, reducing benefits for workers with less than 10 years will do more to put the public pension system back on firm footing.