NM Rejects Reduction In ERB Pensions

New Mexico – The benefits of New Mexico educational retirees would be insulated from the economic downturn under legislation on its way to Gov. Bill Richardson.

The Senate passed the bill 31-10 on Wednesday. It received House approval last week.

More than 22,300 retirees covered by the Educational Retirement Board would see an average $69 drop in their benefits starting in July due to a decrease in the Consumer Price Index. Their benefits would be frozen at the current level if the governor signs the bill.

Officials say the pension fund would have to pay out an additional $1.5 million under the bill.

Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales warned during debate that the pension fund is in trouble and lawmakers will have to make substantial changes to keep it solvent.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.