Rep. Josephson: ‘The exodus of public safety employees trained in Alaska hits every corner of our state’
JUNEAU — The Alaska House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would provide a new retirement incentive to help attract law enforcement officers and firefighters to have careers in Alaska.
Currently, Alaska is one of two states that does not offer public safety workers any form of defined benefit retirement options. As a result, fire and police departments here have become training grounds for other states as the lack of adequate retirement is a key factor in the flight of public safety professionals.
House Bill 55, which passed 25-15, would create a hybrid retirement system that incorporates a defined benefit pension while maintaining defined contribution health benefits. Both of these elements already exist in different tiers of the state’s Public Employee Retirement System.
The proposal is conservatively designed to ensure that the new tier would remain solvent. A series of built-in “levers” provide the Alaska Retirement Management Board with the flexibility they need to adjust the plan accordingly if it ever becomes less than 90 percent funded.
Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), “The exodus of public safety employees trained in Alaska hits every corner of our state. House Bill 55 will end the cycle of the state and municipalities spending millions on training public safety recruits, only for these valuable members of our communities to be drawn away to other states. I am thankful to my colleagues for setting aside party politics to do the right thing for our public safety workers.”
HB 55 will now be transmitted to the Senate where it will receive committee referrals and continue through the legislative process next year.