A recent House committee hearing delving into portions of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed retirement system overhaul revealed that the governor’s office last year hired an out-of-state consulting firm to help the Jindal administration craft the retirement bills expected to move through the Legislature this week.

According to The Times-Picayune, the Jindal administration spent $400,000 to contract with Boston-based Buck Consultants, which had a representative present at the recent House Retirement Committee hearing. Jindal’s proposals include decreasing benefits for state workers, increasing state employee contributions to the system and raising the minimum age for state workers to retire:
The company’s contract came up as representatives debated a plan that would put most new state workers into a 401(k)-style system, known as a “cash-balance plan,” rather than a traditional pension.

David Driscoll, an actuary with the company, presented the case for such a system. “We’ve done this in the private sector and examined them in the public sector,” Driscoll told the committee.

Jindal’s original plan called for the increased employee contributions to be used for filling holes in the budget. He has since, however, agreed to support an amendment that dedicates the rise in contributions to paying down the debt of the state’s retirement system.

Other key pieces of Jindal’s retirement legislation — including a 3 percent rise in employee contributions to the system — will be carried through the Senate, which is expected to take up the package Monday in committee.

Read more here.

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