The following is a press release issued by the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce:
Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts State Senate has passed major reforms to the state pension system.
Senator Joyce voted to approve the reforms, which are projected to save the Commonwealth $5 billion over 30 years, according to a press release from the office of Senator Joyce.
This marks the third consecutive year that the Senate has passed significant pension reforms.
“This legislation is important to ensure the financial health of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Joyce. “Our plan seeks to realize significant taxpayer savings, while maintaining a fair benefit for state employees.”
The Pension Reform Bill expands upon reforms co-authored by Senator Joyce two years ago, which eliminated several loopholes and increases the retirement age for all new employees. This increase reflects the fact that people now live and work longer than when the Commonwealth originally set the retirement ages in the 1950s and 1960s.
The change will bring the state system closer to the retirement ages already set by the federal government for Social Security benefits.
“By modernizing the state’s pension system, we will reduce the Commonwealth’s unfunded pension and retiree liabilities,” said Senator Joyce. “This legislation will help to maintain and improve the Commonwealth’s already strong bond rating.”
While protecting the taxpayer’s dollar, the bill simultaneously protects the state’s retirement system, which remains an essential benefit for hard-working state employees who choose a life of public service over a career in the private sector.
These employees, who have worked for at least 30 years, contribute significantly to the pension system – sometimes even more than 100 percent of their benefit. The average pension for state employees hovers at just over $28,000 per year.
The bill now goes before the House of Representatives for further action.
Senator Joyce's district includes all or parts of ten towns stretching from Milton to East and West Bridgewater, including Stoughton.