Capitol News Service
BATON ROUGE – A baker’s dozen of legislators key to cooking up changes in retirement plans for state employees have more than $182,000 in their ovens from key players in the fight.
According to state disclosure reports, the legislators have received the money from either Gov. Bobby Jindal or the American Legislative Exchange Council, a national organization underwritten by dozens of major corporations which drafts legislation favoring business and industry for lawmakers to take to their respective bodies.
In legislation this session, Jindal has three major retirement proposals:
Jindal wants an additional 3 percent contribution from state employees but the money would not be used to close the gap on the Louisiana State Employee Retirement System’s unfunded accrued liability. Nor would it go to increased retirement benefits. Instead, the 3 percent would go directly into the state general fund to help fill holes in Jindal’s budget.
Jindal’s plan also would require state employees to work until age 67 to qualify for full benefits.
And he is seeking to convert from a defined benefits retirement plan to one of defined contributions.
Any one of the three that is subsequently approved by the legislature and signed into law is all but certain to face litigation on the theory — by LASERS officials and courts in Arizona and New Hampshire — that the U.S. Constitution forbids lawmakers from diminishing or impairing a contract.
LASERS contends, and the courts in those two states have agreed, that promises made to employees upon their hire constitute binding contracts and cannot be broken arbitrarily.
State Civil Service employees currently are eligible for retirement after 30 years of service at any age, after 25 years of service at age 55, and after 10 years of service at age 60.
Between Jindal and ALEC, a grand total of $182,450 has been invested in 13 members of the two committees.
Here are contributions to select committee members with names of the legislators listed first, followed by the total campaign contributions and the source — Jindal, who has raised money at appearances arou the nation, or ALEC corporate members, or both.
House Retirement Committee :
Kevin Pearson, Chairman (R- Slidell) -- $2,500 from Jindal;
Nick Lorusso, Vice Chairman (R-New Orleans) -- $6,500 from ALEC corporate members;
Frank Hoffman (R-West Monroe) -- $2,500 from Jindal, $12,800 from ALEC corporations;
Anthony Ligi (R-Metairie) -- $5,000 from Jindal, $20,700 from ALEC corporate members;
Jack Montoucet (D-Crowley) -- $6,000 from ALEC corporate members;
Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) -- $2,500 from Jindal, $11,750 from ALEC corporate members;
Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge) -- $,5000 from Jindal.
Senate Retirement Committee members:
Elbert Guillory, Chairman (D-Opelousas) -- $7,500 from Jindal, $45,200 from ALEC corporate members;
Page Cortez, Vice-Chairman (R-Lafayette -- $2,500 from Jindal;
Conrad Appel (R-Metairie) -- $2,500 from Jindal;
A.G. Crowe (R-Pearl River) -- $2,500 from Jindal, $4,500 from ALEC corporate members;
Gerald Long (R-Natchitoches) -- $2,500 from Jindal, $35,000 from ALEC corporate members;
Jonathan Perry (R-Kaplan) -- $5,000 from Jindal.
Larusso, Hoffmann, Ligi, Montoucet, Seabaugh, Talbot, Crowe and Long are all members of ALEC and the organization paid for travel, registration fees, hotel accommodations and meals for members Hoffman, Seabaugh, Crowe and Long to attend ALEC conferences, according to records.