By Dan Doonan
A measure to close North Dakota’s public pension plan is headed to Governor Doug Burgum’s desk for signature. Before enacting the measure, the state’s chief executive would be wise to look at the experience of other states that have made such a drastic move. State leaders have learned the hard way that ending pension benefits comes with little to be gained and a big price to pay.
More specifically, states that shifted new employees from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution or cash balance plans experienced increased costs for taxpayers without significant funding improvements. Also, moving away from pensions results in cuts to public employees’ retirement security, while government employers face increased challenges hiring and retaining staff to deliver essential public services.