Speaker Howell Statement Regarding the Passage of Virginia Retirement System Reform

HouseGOP2012 General Assembly Session

RICHMOND, VA – Following the passage of House Bills 1129 and 1130 and Senate Bills 497 and 498 late Saturday evening, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) issued the following statement commenting on these pivotal reform measures:

“My colleagues and I in the House Republican Caucus were pleased by the passage of Senate Bill 497 and House Bill 1130, which I carried in the House. These landmark reforms will permanently put the Virginia Retirement System on a structurally sound foundation and I can think of no greater ending to a busy and productive legislative session,” said Howell.

The reform measures adopted by the General Assembly create a hybrid retirement program – similar to a measures recently adopted in other states – for all new state employees beginning in 2014. The hybrid plan mixes features of a pension-style defined benefit plan with a 401(k) style defined contribution program.

“The passage of these bills reflects the commitment of the members of the House and the Senate, Republican and Democrats alike, to ensure the long term solvency of the Virginia Retirement System,” said Delegate S. Chris Jones (R – Suffolk), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Compensation and Retirement, which governs VRS. “These bills are the culmination of efforts, over the past three sessions by the General Assembly, to enact common sense reforms to the VRS for the benefit of its members, both current and future employees.”

“These reforms are important steps that will not only ensure the long-term solvency of the VRS, but they will also help us maintain structurally balanced budgets in the years to come. These reforms are also critical for us to retain our state’s prized AAA bond rating,” commented Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R – Colonial Heights).

“I consider the passage of these bills to be one of the most important legislative achievements of my 25-year career in the General Assembly. It is my sincere hope that as Republicans and Democrats in both bodies worked together on this landmark legislation that will improve the financial health of VRS, we will now turn our sincere efforts towards a resolution on the budget,” said Howell.