State Patrol, Game & Fish Warden, and Criminal Investigator Pension Plan
Information regarding possible retirement contribution rate adjustments in the State Patrol, Game & Fish Warden, and Criminal Investigator Pension Plan hereinafter referred to as the “Plan”. The proposal is for a 4% increase in the employee contribution spread over four years (1% per year).
The Plan has 304 active contributing members with 340 pensioners, including retirees, disabled retirees, and surviving beneficiaries. The average retiree benefit is $2,898 per month. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is the majority stakeholder (60%), followed by the Game and Fish Department (25%) and the Attorney General Office (Division of Criminal Investigation) (15%).
Contribution rates in the Plan were stable for 39 years before being increased in a multi-year adjustment that began in 2012 and concluded in 2017. The rate history is shown below:
The Plan has seen an average funding ratio in the high 70’s since 2012, despite the increase to contributions. Funding ratios since 2009 are shown below:
As it stands today, the Plan is at 76.52% funded. Future investment returns are apt to be more modest and retirees are living longer leading to pressure on the plan’s funding status. The plan is still headed in the right direction, but progress is slow. Historically, the Wyoming legislature has been very proactive in ensuring that contributions into the system are adequate to support the conservative benefit structure of the plan. Investment results this current year are looking quite favorable, but responsible stewardship suggests adjustments are still advisable.
The Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) Board has received information from the system actuaries indicating that rate increases are prudent in order to attain funding objectives. A 4% increase spread over four years is recommended. A draft bill to this effect is working through the necessary steps to become a bill in the upcoming legislative session.
The latest version of the bill would increase the employee contribution rate, from the present 2.64% to 6.64% in 1% stages beginning July 1, 2020. As always, amendments are possible. WRS will post the bill to our website as soon as it is available.
WRS recognizes that any rate increase imposes a financial impact. However, a pension is still one of the most important benefits for employee recruitment and retention, particularly in the public safety area. It is wise to consider adjustments while the plan is still well-funded.
The Board appreciates the support of members and employers and we are always available should you have any questions. Although the legislative session will not start until February 10, 2020, the Board wanted to get preliminary information out to employers.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our employer relations team at 307-777-2077 or email@example.com.