Walla Walla lawmaker co-sponsoring bill to stop double payments - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla lawmaker co-sponsoring bill to stop double payments to retirees

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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- State lawmakers are trying to put an end to a loophole that allows state employees to collect both a pension and a paycheck.

 The "retire-rehire" policy allows state employees to earn both a salary and a pension by going back to work shortly after retirement.

A bill co-sponsored by Republican State Senator Mike Hewitt from Walla Walla was introduced Tuesday.

 An investigation by the Seattle Times last year found that 2,000 state employees were collecting both a pension and salary, costing taxpayers about $85 million every year.

 Hewitt says that given the budget crisis and the under funding of state pension plans, Washington cannot afford to pay these employees twice.

"Our next state budget is already in a $5 billion hole, and our pension system is seriously under funded," said Hewitt. "The last thing we can afford – and the last thing taxpayers want – is for state government to be paying state employees both a retirement check and a salary at the same time."

 The bill will now be heard in the senate ways and means committee.