APRIL 10 – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday passed the 2014 Omnibus Pensions and Retirement Bill on a vote of 79 to 52, with six Republicans supporting the bill. The measure would consolidate the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA) into the statewide Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) with sufficient state aid – $15 million per year – to bring Duluth into TRA fully funded. Read more here.
MARCH 12 — With a roomful of active and retired Duluth teachers looking on, the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement on Tuesday approved a plan to provide $14 million in annual state aid to the statewide Teachers Retirement Association to facilitate the consolidation of the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA) into TRA and pay off the Duluth plan’s unfunded liabilities.
The state aid, which is projected to continue for 24 years, would ensure that no financial harm is done to TRA members and school districts as a result of the consolidation. The consolidation plan (Senate File 1803, House File 1951) is slated to be included in the 2014 Omnibus Pension Bill, which must also go to the committees on government operations and finance.
The termination date you submit on your retirement application likely will change due to days off because of this year's cold or snow days. TRA encourages you to apply as soon as possible within the 120 days prior to your termination date. If the termination date you submit on your application for retirement changes, send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a brief note with your new date.
DECEMBER 31, 2013 — Last spring, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a law requiring the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA), the St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA) and the Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) to jointly study the feasibility and requirements necessary for consolidating DTRFA and SPTRFA into TRA.
The report, due to the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) on Jan. 6, is now complete and includes detailed actuarial analysis, proposed cost allocation, implementation plans, asset investment management considerations, and education/communication plans.
The TRA board took a position that it is willing to accept the financial and administrative responsibilities of merging DTRFA and SPTRFA into TRA with the condition that financial assistance is provided to TRA through ongoing annual payments that are sufficient to fully fund any merging entity.
Read the report HERE.
Detroit’s bankruptcy and Chicago’s pension problems have prompted a wave of speculation about city finances. What are the facts? The underlying problems in financially troubled cities have been decades in the making: population loss, declining tax bases, and other patterns of fiscal mismanagement.
New research from the Center for State & Local Government Excellence finds that:
Read the report HERE.
There is some confusion about the new early-retirement calculations approved by legislature in the 2013 pension bill. Those members who qualify for Rule of 90 are not affected. The new calculations mainly affect those who became TRA members on July 1, 1989, or later.
Upon reaching your Rule of 90 date, you are eligible for unreduced benefits under the Step Formula method. The new early-retirement calculations only affect members whose benefits are determined under the Level Formula.
For more, please read our early-retirement Q&A.
SEPT. 11, 2013 – After a six-month nationwide search led by Korn/Ferry International, Mansco Perry III, chief investment officer at Macalester College, has been named executive director of the Minnesota State Board of Investment, succeeding executive director Howard Bicker, who will retire next month after 42 years at the agency.
The SBI invests $68 billion in state and pension fund assets. Its board includes the governor, state auditor, attorney general and secretary of state.
Perry, 60, has over 23 years of experience in public fund financial management. He was assistant executive director of the Minnesota SBI from 1990 to 2008, and was chief investment officer
at the $40 billion Maryland State Retirement Agency from 2008 to 2010. He has been chief investment officer at Macalester since 2010. Perry has been awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst, the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, and the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement designations.
Read more HERE.
Gov. Mark Dayton has signed the 2013 Omnibus Pension Bill, which authorizes changes to public employee early-retirement benefit calculations, two years of increased state aid to the struggling St. Paul and Duluth teachers’ retirement funds, and a study on a potential merger of the two independent teacher funds into TRA.
A combined $13 million in aid will be appropriated in each of the next two years on Oct. 1, 2013, and again on Oct. 1, 2014, to help the St. Paul Teachers Retirement Fund Association (SPTRFA) and the Duluth Teachers Retirement Fund Association (DTRFA) achieve solvency. Dayton told lawmakers that he would not make a long-term commitment to state aid beyond two years unless the two funds merge into TRA.
The legislation requires that the merger study be undertaken by the actuaries, boards of trustees and staff of the three funds beginning this summer, and a report is due to the legislature by Jan. 6, 2014. (Story continues HERE.)
Read our Q&A on the merger study HERE. For details about the new early-retirement calculations, click HERE. A summary of the bill can be found on the “Omnibus Retirement Bill” page of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement website.
New accounting changes from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) are raising false alarm in the press and among members of the public regarding the financial well-being of public pension plans, including Minnesota’s. Read our FAQ fact sheet HERE.
Employers: Visit our GASB page for detailed information and check it periodically for updates.
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ROAD CONSTRUCTION ALERT! The northbound 35E Pennsylvania exit is closed. This affects arriving to our St. Paul office from northbound 35E or eastbound I94.
• Alternate route from northbound 35E is exit 106C (11th Street), left on Jackson St, then left on Empire Drive.
• Alternate route from eastbound 94 is exit 241A (Marion St/Kellogg Blvd/State Capitol), left on Marion, Marion becomes Pennsylvania, then left on Empire Drive.
The Pennsylvania exit from southbound 35E is currently open.
TRA Tax Withholding Calculator (Federal and State) for 2014