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HB 1182, HD1, SD1, RELATING TO THE EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The Committee on Ways and Means
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
1:30 pm, Room 211

Attention: Chair Jill Tokuda, Vice Chair Donovan Dela Cruz and
Members of the Committee

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) continues to request support for the intent of HB 1182, HD1, requiring the Employeesʻ Retirement System (ERS) actuary to perform annual stress tests of the system and the ERS Board to submit annual reports of the tests to the legislature as we previously testified.

Due to market indicators nationally, the ERS Board had previously taken a responsible approach by slowly lowering the assumed rate of return 50 basis points over a five year period. However, the recent decision by the ERS Board to reduce the assumed rate of return 50 basis points all at once has caused a great deal of anxiety for beneficiaries and the public as a whole.  That one action by the ERS Board immediately increased the unfunded liability by $1.7 Billion, and has statutorily forced the legislature to review the required employer contributions.  When actions by the ERS Board have statewide fiscal implications, additional oversight may be required to ensure the beneficiaries have confidence their interests are being addressed.

Requiring the ERS actuary to perform an annual stress test and report its findings to the legislature will provide a level of transparency that is currently not in place and ensure that the decisions of the ERS Board are not made in a vacuum since the decision to reduce the assumed rate has statewide implications.  

UHPA supports the intent of HB 1182, HD1.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristeen Hanselman
Executive Director