Tennessee Lawmakers Considering Plan to Phase Out Current Pension Plan for State Workers

Feb 25, 2013

The Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville

The traditional state pension would begin to be phased out under a plan to be presented to Tennessee lawmakers Monday. In recent decades, the rap on state jobs is that the pay may be less than the private sector, but the benefits are good – especially the retirement plan.

Lester Hines took a job in the state codes department seven years ago. “It was good deal for me," he says. "I was almost 50 years old and didn’t have a pension."

Tennessee’s state pension system is less generous than some states. It’s also more financially sound. But those who manage it say the system is unsustainable.

If a proposal from the state treasurer gets approval in the legislature, the state would be more involved in helping workers save for retirement rather than promising a set amount.

There’s been such a move away from pensions, they may not be the draw they once were, says Barbara Bridges, who works in the Department of Education.

“I don’t think it’s anything that anybody coming in to work for the state government is going to go, ‘oh yeah, that’s it," she says.

Current employees and retirees would not be affected by the proposed pension system changes. 

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