ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Ninety thousand New Mexicans are counting on the Public Employee Retirement plan which is frighteningly in the red by nearly $5 billion and that number is climbing.
To make it solvent, painful changes may be on the way for city, county and state workers. Now there's concern that may cause a mass exodus of cops and firefighters who are already eligible to hang it up.
Now PERA leaders are trying to come up with a plan to keep public safety, including cops from bailing all at once and cashing in on their current retirement plans.
PERA's board is proposing changes that would cut the cost of living increase from 3% to 2% and right now, retirees get that cost of living hike after two years. That would change to sevem years.
In an effort to prevent a mass exodus, the PERA board is also proposing grandfathering in that seven year rule.
The PERA board is also looking at raising the retirement age, making government employees work more years before they can collect pensions, and taking out another 1 1/2% of their pay.
Today in Santa Fe, public safety union leaders are meeting with lawmakers who are part of a pension committee to go over the proposed changes and discuss concerns.
"Unless we do something, it's going to impact our ability to pay pensions down the road, so it's better to deal with it now while we still can, before the problem gets bigger," said PERA Executive Director Wayne Propst.
The legislature and the governor also have to agree to it when they meet in January.
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