Benefit Improvement Account Update

July 23, 2015
The final biennial operating budget for 2015-2017 included a proviso to fund the LEOFF Plan 2 Benefit Improvement Account with a transfer of $15.779 million from the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Fund. The amount is derived from compounding two years of 7.5% interest onto the skipped $5 million payment from September, 2013 and fully funding the $10 million scheduled for September, 2015. The legislature also signaled their intention to fund the $25 million payment scheduled for September, 2017 in the same manner but that intent language was vetoed by Governor Inslee. The Governor’s veto message is included below. “I support funding for the Local Law Enforcement Officers' and Firefighters' Retirement System Benefits Improvement Account, and included funding for this account in my budget proposal. Rather than provide a General Fund-State appropriation to this account, the Legislature transferred money from the LEOFF retirement system pension fund to the benefits improvement account. While I am approving this one-time transfer, I am concerned that repeated transfers would undermine the stability of the pension fund and increase the cost of existing pension benefits for plan members, local governments, and the state of Washington. Because I believe that future funding for the benefits improvement account should be made through General Fund appropriations, as envisioned by the legislation that created that account, I am vetoing language that indicates legislative intent for future transfers from the pension fund. For this reason, I have vetoed Section 950(3).”