Roberts pushes for protection of pension pools for charities, cooperatives

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) applauded the Senate’s passage on Wednesday of a measure that would ensure charities and cooperatives are not subjected to funding rules that would force them to choose between funding pensions or critical services.

Charities and cooperatives were granted an exemption from a provision of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that allowed them to continue funding retirement benefits through multiple-employer pension plans, also called CSEC.

CSEC allow small, community-focused employers to pool their pension plans to achieve economies that are otherwise available only to large employers – but the PPA exemption is set to expire.

The Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Flexibility Act of 2013 would ensure that those community-based organizations are permanently exempt from the funding rules.

“This bill provides a permanent solution to addresses the unique needs of rural cooperative and charity pension plans,” Roberts said. “Without this legislation, it would be increasingly difficult for these groups to provide pensions for thousands of Kansans. It could also reduce services many of these cooperatives provide to their rural communities.”

The measure would implement pension funding rules that cater to the unique aspects of CSEC plans and would institute permanent rules similar to those that CSEC plans are currently subject to, Roberts said.