LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Business leaders along with lawmakers spoke about many issues plaguing Louisiana's State Retirement System.
The Chamber SWLA hosted a luncheon Friday at the Lake Charles Civic Center for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). The association viewed the state's fiscal outlook and federal legislation that could dramatically affect Louisiana businesses.
Lawmakers discussed Governor Jindal's proposed plan that addressed the state employees system that has been under funded by $6 billion. Governor Jindal said Louisiana taxpayers will spend nearly $2 billion in state retirement in 2012.
Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-LA from District #27 in Calcasieu Parish said the state needs to focus on what is known as the Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL). The UAL is a growing retirement bill that the state has to pay. In March 2012, the UAL will be at $18 billion.
"The retirement reform package will no doubt in my mind be the most controversial thing of the session," Republican Sen. Johns said.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-LA and District 33 State Rep. Mike Danahay, R-LA agreed that Louisiana needed to focus on decreasing the UAL.
"If every employee were to retire tomorrow morning, that means we [Louisiana] are $18 billion dollars upside down," Sen. Johns said. "It affects every taxpayer in this state because we are constitutionally required to balance this UAL over a number of years."
The legislative session will run from March 12, 2012 through June 4, 2012.