Local Politics

Bill would phase out pensions for state workers

SEATTLE - A state lawmaker wants to offer a $10,000 incentive to state employees who agree to move away from the state pension system into a 401k-style retirement package.

Sen. Doug Ericksen's proposal comes after Boeing's successful campaign to pressure Machinists into surrendering their traditional pensions. The Republican wants to end pensions for new state hires while offering the incentive to current workers.

The Seattle Times reports that legislation to curtail public pensions is unlikely to pass in the 60-day legislative session. Top Democrats say the state pension system is in good shape and that they'll oppose any move to end pensions.

Ericksen's proposal for state employees would cap state costs for the $10,000 incentive payments at $20 million. That means only 2,000 employees could receive payments for moving off pensions in the next year.