Friday News Roundup: NM Pension System Finances Improve Under New Law

Nov 1, 2013

NM Pension System Finances Improve Under New Law - Associated Press

A retirement system for New Mexico's state and local government workers reports its long-term financial outlook has improved in large part because of a recently enacted pension overhaul.

The Public Employees Retirement Association said Thursday the projected cost of future pension benefits was $4.6 billion more than the retirement fund's assets in the 2013 fiscal year. That's down from an unfunded liability of $6.2 billion the previous year.

PERA has almost 73 percent of the assets needed to cover future benefits. That's up from 65 percent in 2012, but a new law aims to improve the retirement system so it has 90 percent of necessary assets within three decades.

Reduced cost-of-living adjustments for pension benefits are among the changes in a state law approved this year.

Navajo Nation Signs Documents To Acquire Coal Mine - Associated Press

A company created by the Navajo Nation has signed off on the purchase of a coal mine in northwestern New Mexico.

The $85 million deal with Australian-based BHP Billiton is expected to close on Dec. 1.

The Navajo Mine is the sole provider of coal to the nearby Four Corners Power Plant, which provides electricity to about 300,000 households in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

The tribe created the Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC., earlier this year to look into purchasing the mine that produces up to 8.5 million tons of coal annually. The production level will decrease when three of the units at the power plant shut down, and Arizona Public Service Co. acquires ownership of the other two units.

BHP will manage the mine for three years.

Free Flu Shots In Albuquerque Saturday - Associated Press

The New Mexico Department of Health is offering free flu shots Saturday at its Albuquerque Midtown Public Health Office.

The clinic is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine each flu season. Especially at risk, they say are children, people over 50, Native Americans and people with chronic medical conditions.

The New Mexico Department of Health offers vaccinations for people without insurance for free. Those with Medicaid or other health insurance should bring their insurance cards with them to the clinic to get a shot at no-charge.