University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, Madison, could create an optional defined contribution plan for newly hired professors and academic staff under a bill to be introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly.
If passed, new hires would have the option to join the new DC plan or enter into the traditional defined benefit pension plan. Current employees would not be affected and could not opt into the DC plan.
State Rep. Patricia Strachota, the sponsor of the bill, said the DC plan would be used as a recruiting tool. She said in a telephone interview that 46 states with a higher education retirement plan offer DC plans, allowing employees to take their benefits with them if they are hired in another state.
The bill has not been formally introduced yet, and Ms. Strachota said she is looking for co-sponsors.
The Wisconsin Coalition of Annuitants, a consortium of groups representing more than 146,500 retirees in the $76.5 billion Wisconsin Retirement System, Madison, which includes UW participants, sent a letter to legislators Jan. 31 opposing the bill, stating it opposes any changes to the Wisconsin Retirement System “without a complete actuarial study of what the effect of any change might be on present and future members of the WRS and taxpayers” and “before the completion of the WRS study due to be submitted by June 30, 2012.”