Sen. Brian Taniguchi Explains Opposition to ‘Anti Spiking’ Bill

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Sen. Brian Taniguchi inserted these remarks into the Senate Journal after opposing House Bill 2487 today during Senate crossover.



Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to House Bill 2487 SD1.

This bill is commonly known as this year’s “anti-spiking” bill.

I believe that spiking in most cases is the result of overtime work being computed as part of the average final compensation calculation for one’s retirement benefit.

There have been cases of alleged abuse in the past (Adult Correction Officers in the 1990’s) and with our current fiscal situation, there has been renewed scrutiny of possible “abuses” recently.

But I think that it is only fair that government workers who are asked and in most cases, required to work overtime, be allowed to have this work be included as part of their pension calculation.

Assigning overtime work is a management function. Managers know that when overtime is required of the employee, that under current law, these employees will receive an additional benefit in the form of a higher pension calculation. In the overwhelming number of cases, overtime is considered a last resort but also considered essential to the proper provision of services by government. Why do we want to punish the employee for something that they are aware that they must do if asked to do so by a manager?

Certainly where there is collusion to solely increase someone’s pension by requiring unnecessary overtime, then those responsible should be held accountable and punished. I also agree that the agency whose managers are authorizing the overtime should in some way be held fiscally responsible. While I tend to sympathize with the burden that this may have on certain agencies, this would insure more accountability in the assignment of overtime.

Finally, it is not clear to me what financial impact spiking has on the retirement system and what the actual savings would be if this bill is implemented. As the Budget Director seemed to indicate, I don’t think it would have major impact on lowering the State’s unfunded liability in any significant way, which was a primary justification for this bill.

I ask that my colleagues vote against this measure. Thank you.