With a stroke of his pen, Governor McDonnell will sign into law Virginia Retirement System reforms that will significantly change how much public employees contribute and receive. Bill supporters say the revisions are needed to fix a looming multibillion-dollar shortfall in the pension fund.
Teachers and public safety employees are especially concerned about the extra 5% they must invest in their retirement. Localities are asked to offset that increase with raises, but Virginia Education Association President Kitty Boitnott says the long-term impact is smaller pensions.
“A future teacher who makes the minimum contribution to the hybrid pension plan as outlined in the conference report would see their meager retirement benefit fall by about one-third. In the case of a teacher who earned the average final salary of $55,560, they would receive a benefit of $19,207 versus $28,336,” said Boitnott.
She says most teachers can’t make the maximum contribution. Delegate Jennifer McClellan agreed, saying delegates did not have an opportunity to review the bill—and it’s a disservice to those who dedicated their careers to Virginia.