House Concurrent Resolution 63

(By Delegates Jenkins, Hubbard, Smith, Campbell, Williams, Clements and Hall)

[March 10, 1998]

Requesting the Joint Committee on Pensions and Retirement to conduct an interim study relating to the creation of a self- sustaining means of providing supplemental retirement benefits to public employees based upon the performance of state investments in equities.

Whereas, The Legislature authorized a special election on September 27, 1997, to submit to the voters of West Virginia a constitutional amendment permitting investment of public pension funds in common stocks and other equity investments; and
Whereas, Significant and diligent efforts were expended by many state representatives, public officials, state pensioners and others toward the passage of the Modern Investment Amendment; and
Whereas, The National Association of State Investment Officers reported a 1996 national average return on investment of 14.9% and such performance suggests that dramatic improvements could occur in regard to the unfunded liabilities that currently exist in our state's four primary retirement systems; and
Whereas, The amount of general revenue dollars that must be appropriated to pay the unfunded liability in the state's retirement systems is directly related to the amount of money that the retirement systems earns from their investments; and
Whereas, Reduced unfunded liabilities and increased return on investment could allow additional revenue to be made available to grant supplemental retirement compensation to state pensioners; and
Whereas, More than 190,000 West Virginians, including teachers, state police and all public employees are among those depending upon the funds; and
Whereas, Experts estimate prudent investment in stocks may dramatically improve the condition of state pensions over the long- term and protect state funding for existing programs such as those for seniors, families and education; and
Whereas, State pensioners have worked extremely hard for the passage of the Modern Investment Amendment and therefore should share in the improved financial condition of our state pension funds; and
Whereas, Historically the Legislature has provided for supplemental retirement benefits on a periodic basis; and
Whereas, Providing future supplemental retirement benefits in conjunction with a growing investment portfolio provides continuity that has not previously been in existence for state pensioners.
Whereas, Legislative intent is to provide improved benefits when fiscally feasible to state retirement members to create a more stable environment for meeting the changing needs of state pensioners; and
Whereas, Realization of the goals stated above require the professional advice of a qualified state actuary; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Pensions and Retirement is hereby requested to review, examine and study the feasibility of providing a self-sustaining means of granting supplemental retirement benefits to public employees in conjunction with the performance of public funds invested in the equities market and to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the same; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the said Joint Ccommittee on Ppension and Rretirement study the utility of hiring a full-time actuary to advise the Legislature as to the policies which will best serve the long-term interests and welfare of the state's pension and retirement systems and to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the same.