Public employees like educational support staff, snowplow drivers, and addiction recovery specialists work hard to support our children, keep our roads safe, and provide treatment to our family members.

But the hard-earned benefits of North Dakota’s dedicated public employees are now at risk. Why? Because some North Dakota legislators want to eliminate pensions and guaranteed retirement payments administered by the North Dakota Public Employee Retirement System (NDPERS) for new state employees.

Instead of limiting benefits through changes they say will only affect new employees, legislators should shore up the pension fund. They failed to do so for six legislative sessions following the economic collapse of 2008-2009.

If NDPERS pensions fall, pensions for teachers and other public employees may be next in line. We have a chance to protect North Dakota public employee pensions and stand up for every North Dakotan’s hard-earned retirement security.

 

Three bills have been introduced in the ongoing 2023 Legislative Session to eliminate pensions. House bills 1039, 1040, and 1486 have been introduced to replace the current pension plan with a less stable defined contribution plan by 2025. However, one bill – Senate Bill 2239 – aims to save our pensions by shoring up the existing pension fund for under $1 billion. In comparison, each of the three house bills that would eliminate pensions would cost $5.5 billion over 20 years; more than five times the cost. Not only does SB 2239 maintain and invest in pensions, it is also clearly the more fiscally responsible choice. North Dakota United supports Senate Bill 2239.

Pension vs. Defined Contribution Plan

PENSIONS

  1. Your future retirement is secure with guaranteed lifetime monthly payments that are easy to predict based on your salary and years of service. The longer the service, the greater the benefit.
  2. Retirement payments are guaranteed to the employee.
  3. A proven retention and recruitment tool that helps hire and keep dedicated public employees and ensures quality services North Dakotans expect.
  4. Includes options for guarantees to ensure family members of a deceased public employee are taken care of in their retirement.
  5.  The state pension fund is professionally managed without risk to the employee.

 

DEFINED CONTRIBUTIONS

  1. Your employer’s contribution ceases upon your retirement leaving your retirement security at the mercy of the stock market, which could cause payments to run out before your death.
  2. Determined by the employer’s limited contribution.
  3. Makes it harder to hire and keep good employees, putting quality services at risk.
  4. No guarantees for your loved ones after your death.
  5. The individual retirement plan is managed at the cost to the employee. The employee bears all risk for the fund’s health.