MADISON (WKOW) -- There should be no changes made to the Wisconsin Retirement System for public employees.
That's the conclusion of a study that was required as part of Governor Scott Walker's 2011-13 biennial budget.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration had an independent firm do an analysis of the State Employee Trust Fund and determined that any changes to the current pension system wouldn't help what they consider to be a very strong fund.
Its the same thing a national Pew Foundation study found two weeks ago.
"Wisconsin is the only system in the country that is 100 percent funded," said Gov. Walker in Germantown on Monday. "It's one of the strongest systems in the country and the interesting thing, a lot of people nationally don't realize, is part of the reason our pension is fully funded is because we don't have the normal pension system that many other states and jurisdictions do where it's just a lock in amount."
The Governor wanted the Wisconsin Employee Trust Fund analyzed to see if there could be savings gained in switching from a pension plan to something more like a 401k that's offered by most private employers.
"In Wisconsin, unequivocally we have the best system in the country," said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison). "Touching it in any way would be a real serious error."
Rep. Pocan joined a number of other Democrats who called on the Governor to commit to keeping his hands off the Wisconsin Retirement System for good.
"Anything that we do can affect that system, so even if its as simple as saying we're gonna offer another option, if you start affecting who's in the pool, you could affect that system," explained Pocan.
The DOA's report concludes that another option such as a 401k would require higher contributions for employees and would only increase the state's administrative costs.
"There is some push for a complete change in the 401k system, but we have a lot of benefits while still having the strengths of a strong pension system. There may not be a need for a change," said Gov. Walker.
The Governor said in a statement from his office that he has no plans to make any substantial changes to the Wisconsin Retirement System at this time, but that he will continue to work to ensure the system is fiscally sustainable in the future.
MADISON (WKOW) -- After an analysis of the Wisconsin Retirement System, an independent consulting firm has concluded that the pension program for the state's public employees is in very good shape and it is not necessary to make changes to it.
The state hired the actuarial firm of Gabriel, Roeder and Smith to determine if the plan was sustainable or if another system, such as a 401k plan, was needed.
While the actuaries determined that a 401k or any other "defined contribution plan" wouldn't cost anything extra, they concluded that it wasn't necessary to keep the program sustainable.
The analysis comes on the heels of a Pew Research study which showed that Wisconsin's pension system was the only one in the nation to be 100 percent funded.
Governor Scott Walker has vowed to follow the advice of the independent study from Gabriel, Roeder and Smith.
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