Ala. speaker discusses RSA funding

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "We're not the only ones in the country having to do this," says Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

It's no secret, earnings for the Retirement Systems of Alabama's largest fund--The Teachers' Retirement System--aren't meeting the national average.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard admits the same thing is happening in many states right now.

But at a time when money is tight and the RSA is relying on the state budget to fund some employee retirement payouts, Hubbard wonders if this is the best method.

"[When] we're having to take a billion dollars out of the budget and give it to the Retirement Systems [that] indicates there's an issue," says Hubbard.

Fund managers at the RSA say it's not uncommon for the state to contribute and that they've done it for years. They acknowledge the struggling stock market has hurt some investments. Speaker Hubbard believes changes need to be made to the RSA because of it. He says 30 other states have already passed legislation reforming state run retirement systems.

"We're doing what we have to do to make sure it's actuarially sound and that the retirees who are depending on that don't have anything to fear," adds Hubbard.

A recent statement from the RSA indicates they're also doing what they can to remedy the problem.

"We have asked our (RSA) actuary to value a host of different proposals that will allow for changes to the system from top to bottom in an effort to determine cost savings," says RSA spokesman Mark Reynolds.

Hubbard says he is working closely with RSA Chief Executive David Bronner on possible changes. He says legislation is likely to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session to address the issues.

According to officials in the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Office, the state's contribution to the RSA is projected to increase to about $878-million dollars--that's up $90-million dollars from this year.

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