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Keyword: pensions

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  • Obama Administration Waives Penalty Against Convicted Bank Credit Suisse (received pmts)

    10/27/2015 9:17:53 AM PDT · by Titus-Maximus · 12 replies
    International Business Times ^ | 10/26/2015 | David Sirota
    Only weeks after the White House made headlines with a directive urging prosecutors to get tougher on corporate crime, the Obama administration has moved to protect a convicted financial firm from punishment. The bank, Credit Suisse, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Barack Obama’s political campaigns. It also employs the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm with family connections to the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. In 2014, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to criminal charges for operating “an illegal cross-border banking business that knowingly and willfully aided and assisted thousands of U.S. clients in opening and...
  • Scary Pension Math: Even After Bull Market, Governments Still Owe $1 Trillion

    01/22/2016 3:05:04 AM PST · by expat_panama · 26 replies
    Investors Business Daily ^ | 01/21/2016 | STEVEN MALANGA
    Wall Street has only recently ended the third-longest bull market in history. But in July, when stocks were still near their 2015 high, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that state and local pension debt nationally had barely fallen since 2009, despite years of market gains. Now, with markets down more than 12% since summer, new pension debt is piling up... Absent some startling development — like an even bigger runaway bull market, which few market watchers anticipate — the crisis will worsen. At the root of the problem is a change in the financial structure of public pension funds... Another...
  • The Real Problem with Government Pensions

    01/15/2016 5:09:12 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 5 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/12/2016 | James Hohman
    The high cost of government pension plans are often dismissed by blaming them on either employees abusing the system for plush benefits or poor investment returns due to a temporary market blip. Neither is correct. The real problem is the assumptions used to prefund future retirement benefits. To keep pension costs from draining resources meant to fund current services, Michigan politicians at all levels should address the pension underfunding crisis in 2016. The government retirement system for school employees is the largest pension program in Michigan, and it has accumulated $26.5 billion of unfunded benefit promises. The plan for state...
  • Don’t Blame Employees for Pension Underfunding

    01/05/2016 9:34:33 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 13 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/2/2016 | James Hohman
    It is unfortunate that government employees are often blamed for underfunded government pension systems. When concerns are raised that retirement systems owe members billions more than has been saved, high-earners and early retirees are viewed as the culprits. Policymakers in return cut the generosity of the plans. Yet these policy reforms will not fix the basic problems faced by pension systems. In 2010, Michigan’s school employee pension system was underfunded by $12 billion, not including the value of promised retiree health care benefits. Lawmakers sprang into action. They increased employee contributions to the system and made new employees' benefits less...
  • Pension Underfunding Has a Cause — But it is Not Smaller Workforces

    12/15/2015 11:53:07 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 8 replies
    Mackinac Center ^ | 12/14/2015 | James Hohman
    The costs of defined benefit pension systems are meant to be paid as pension credits are earned by employees. For government workers, paying these costs as they are earned is a state constitutional requirement. But this has not happened, a failure that has generated billions in unfunded taxpayer liabilities. Moreover, a lack of understanding of how pension funding actually works leads to incorrect reform prescriptions from lawmakers and others. Consider this letter to the editor in The Detroit News: "Once new employees were frozen out of MSERS [the state employee retirement system] the average age of enrollees increased rapidly. Systems...
  • State Pension Plans Are Unsustainable

    12/01/2015 5:29:09 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 11 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/30/2015 | Dr. Michael Thom
    According to the Detroit Free Press, the city of Detroit must make a $195 million balloon payment to its pension systems in 2024, which is some 71 percent higher than the amount approved in city’s bankruptcy plan. New hiring, delayed pension cuts, and longer life expectancies have left the city responsible for a growing retirement-benefit liability. Statewide, the situation is not much better. Recent financial statements for pension plans covering Michigan’s state employees, teachers and police officers indicate that those plans are underfunded by some $33 billion, an increase of about $1.5 billion over last year. Adding insult to injury,...
  • Forcing Green Politics on Pension Funds

    11/20/2015 9:57:34 AM PST · by JeepersFreepers · 14 replies
    The Wall Street Journal ^ | November 18, 2015 | Andy Kessler
    Last month the Obama administration's Labor Department issued Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01, which tells pension funds what factors to use when choosing investments, including climate change. Only a few tax lawyers noticed, but with U.S. pensions at $9 trillion, this is a gross power grab that will hurt the retirees it claims to protect. This government is essentially saying: Don't you dare invest in anything that causes or is hurt by climate change, or you'll be sued for failing your fiduciary responsibilities. Energy, utilities and industrials are 20% of the market. How can pension funds now own any of them? Pushing...
  • Pensions Don't Get Funded, They Get Underfunded

    11/03/2015 10:41:58 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 4 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/1/2015 | James Hohman
    The school pension system is in dire need of reform. It owes school employees and retirees $26.5 billion — 13 times more than the state owes its general obligation bondholders. Yet some policymakers think that they have already solved the problem with changes to the system made in 2010 and 2012. What has happened since shows why the state needs to get out of the defined-benefit pension business entirely. Back in 2012, legislative fiscal agencies modeled what would happen to contribution rates — the percentage of schools’ payroll required to meet the costs of the system — with and without...
  • U.S. Budget Deal Dings Corporate Pensions

    10/29/2015 7:17:57 PM PDT · by 11th_VA · 13 replies
    WSJ ^ | Oct 28, 2015 | By Vipal Monga CONNECT
    Companies with corporate pensions will end up paying a price if a sweeping budget and debt deal proposed by Congress becomes law. The House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation as soon as Wednesday that would eliminate the risk of a government default until after 2016 and increase government spending for the next two years. But the plan proposes steep increases to fees that companies pay to the nation's pension insurer, to help fund the added budget spending. According to the proposed budget, companies that have defined benefit pension plans would have to increase the fees they pay to...
  • Colorado state pension plan to miss full-funding target by 14 years [ PERA ]

    10/20/2015 7:38:15 AM PDT · by george76 · 8 replies
    Denver Business Journal ^ | Oct 19, 2015 | Monica Mendoza
    Colorado’s pension plan is on track to be fully funded by 2055 — 14 years after the 2041 target date set by the Colorado Legislature in 2010. Now, lawmakers will need to decide if they want to stick to the 2041 target date, or agree that it will take longer than they planned for the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association to have the money to pay for the promised benefits to PERA’s 529,000. The probability of the financial projections, as well as other variables, were discussed today with members of the Colorado Legislative Audit Committee, who heard the results of...
  • Major Teamsters pension fund to slash recipients' benefits

    10/19/2015 4:10:51 PM PDT · by afraidfortherepublic · 133 replies
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ^ | 10-19-15 | Rick Romell and Joe Taschler
    No wonder Tom Minerath is angry. Sixty-eight years old and retired since 2007, the Town of Merton man is about to have about $20,000 taken away from his annual pension — money he earned, money that was promised him, money guaranteed in contracts negotiated by one of the country's strongest labor unions. "I'm going to make it through this, but it's just not right," he said. "It's just not right." Which probably sums up the feelings of more than 270,000 people, including thousands in Wisconsin, who have been told by the financially troubled Central States Pension Fund that their pension...
  • Cops Retiring in Their 40s While Pension Systems Break Cities’ Backs

    10/19/2015 12:20:15 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 28 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 10/16/2015 | Tom Gantert
    A husband and wife who were both Ann Arbor police officers retired within a year of each other. The husband, a lieutenant, retired in 2009 at age 46. His wife, whose job title was telecommunicator, started collecting pension checks in 2010 at age 51. Since 2009, the city of Ann Arbor has seen 43 individuals age 51 or younger retire and begin collecting police pensions. Early retirements — many of which occur with employees still in their 40s — are not uncommon in municipal public safety departments. The practice is justified on the grounds that the high stress and sometimes...
  • Illinois Can't Make Next Pension Payment

    10/16/2015 2:02:08 AM PDT · by Libloather · 66 replies
    WSIU ^ | 10/14/15 | Amanda Vinicky
    Illinois won't make its next pension payment; Comptroller Leslie Munger Wednesday announced she can't, because the state doesn't have the cash. Illinois' government pensions are already the worst-funded in the nation. The massive liability grew thanks to the lawmakers shorting the funds. They used the money to pay other expenses instead. Now, Illinois is set do it again. This time, the payment will be delayed because Comptroller Munger says there isn't money in the bank to make it. "The monthly pension payment of $560 million is the largest consistent expenditure that we have throughout the year, and it is one...
  • CORRECTED-Chicago businesses brace for potential doubling of property taxes

    10/02/2015 11:10:51 PM PDT · by george76 · 18 replies
    Reuters ^ | Oct 2, 2015 | Dave McKinney
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has disclosed that his record property tax hike plan entails significant cuts for nearly 300,000 homeowners, leaving Chicago businesses predicting they will face hikes of up to 50 percent. The second-term mayor last week proposed a $544 million property tax increase, the city's biggest ever, to help fix one of the worst-funded city pension systems in America ... Emanuel's office, which has said one in four dollars of the tax hike would come from the city's central business district, did not contest the 50-percent figure. But a mayoral aide insisted Emanuel's plan is his best effort...
  • Leaked Audio: Hillary Clinton Calls at Private Fundraiser for Infrastructure Bank...

    09/30/2015 12:12:30 PM PDT · by Cincinatus' Wife · 34 replies
    Washington Free Beacon ^ | September 30, 2015 | Alana Goodman and Lachlan Markay
    Leaked Audio: Hillary Clinton Calls at Private Fundraiser for Infrastructure Bank to Resemble Clinton Global Initiative Hillary Clinton told donors at a private fundraiser in New York last Thursday that she plans as president to create a “national infrastructure bank” modeled on the Clinton Global Initiative, according to a recording of her remarks obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. This was the first time that Clinton, who has long supported the formation of a government-controlled bank to invest in national infrastructure projects, cited the Clinton Global Initiative—the flagship arm of her family’s controversial foundation—as an investment model for her proposed...
  • Chicago mayor's budget includes massive property hike

    09/22/2015 2:11:03 PM PDT · by Beave Meister · 11 replies
    Fox News ^ | 9/22/2015
    CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitched a massive property tax hike Tuesday as a "last resort" to correct Chicago's financial footing, suggesting the only alternative for the nation's third-largest city would include severe cuts to police and fire services, recycling programs, pothole repair and even rodent control. Emanuel, who needs approval from state lawmakers and the governor for at least part of his sweeping plan, outlined a $543 million property tax over four years, a $45 million tax to modernize schools, and other new fees for residential garbage pickup, e-cigarettes and ride-sharing services. The property tax revenue would go toward...
  • Skyrocketing Pension Costs Trigger Parent Angst Over Loss of Teachers

    09/21/2015 10:22:44 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 15 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/19/2015 | Tom Gantert
    At a recent event related to the Grand Ledge school district, teachers and parents expressed concern over the loss of departure of some teachers. A TV station report on the meeting said the district is losing 19 teachers, 12 to retirement. Yet most attendees were unaware that just the increase in the district's costs for the school employee pension system over the past five years could have paid the salaries of about 140 new teachers (not including benefits). To put this context, state figures show that Grand Ledge had 280 teachers in 2013-14. The Grand Ledge school district shares a...
  • School Pension Costs Have Increased by $622 Per Pupil

    09/17/2015 1:57:02 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 8 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/12/2015 | Tom Gantert
    In the spring of 2011, when Gov. Rick Snyder proposed what was characterized as a $470 per pupil reduction in public school funding, media reports described this as so “massive” that it left school officials “in a state of shock.” "This is going to be potentially devastating," declared David Martell, the executive director of the Michigan School Business Officials organization. Yet, those who advocate for spending more on public schools have been nearly silent about a growing and far more severe threat to budgets — the skyrocketing cost of the school employee retirement system. In 2010, the pension system cost...
  • Schoolchildren, Teachers, Taxpayers Harmed When Pension Managers Assume Too Much

    09/04/2015 8:58:51 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 4 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/2/2015 | James Hohman
    State law requires the managers of Michigan’s school employee retirement system to base annual pension contributions on an assumption that its investments will generate an average return of around 8 percent per year. If the actual returns don’t reliably meet or beat that level over time, it means contributions into the pension fund will be insufficient to pay for the retirement benefits of employees. The result is a long term unfunded liability that taxpayers eventually have to pay. Michigan’s school pension system has put taxpayers on the hook for a $26.5 billion unfunded liability. The 6.5 percent return earned by...
  • Unions Should Get Serious About Pension Underfunding

    09/02/2015 11:45:11 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 13 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/1/2015 | James Hohman
    Grand Rapids’ public bus system, The Rapid (or Interurban Transit Partnership), and its union are negotiating over a plan to freeze and close its employee retirement system. Union president Larry Hanley is adamant that the plan remain open. "This is not contract negotiation; this is a political attack on working people with no good financial reason. It's not that the agency's in trouble," Hanley told the Grand Rapids Press. "The system's not in any state of crisis. The benefits have been established for many years." It is discouraging when union officials that are supposed to be protecting their members ignore...
  • Florida stands to lose $1 billion because of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy (2009 Jeb flashback)

    08/24/2015 12:05:33 PM PDT · by jimbo123 · 16 replies
    Tampa Bay Times ^ | 6/4/2009 | Sydney P. Freedberg and Connie Humburg
    A price tag is now emerging for what last year's collapse of investment giant Lehman Brothers could cost the state of Florida: more than $1 billion. The losses could make Florida and its citizens among the biggest casualties in the biggest bankruptcy ever. -snip- The storied bank hired former Gov. Jeb Bush as a consultant in June 2007, five months after he left office. As governor, Bush also served as a trustee for the State Board of Administration, which invests public money. Lehman was the dominant Wall Street broker that sold the SBA $1.4 billion of risky, mortgage-related securities that...
  • Pension Costs Eating Up Extra School Money

    08/24/2015 5:12:53 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 7 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 8/22/2015 | Tom Gantert
    In the four Michigan budgets approved by a Republican-controlled Legislature under Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, revenues at the Dexter Community Schools have moved in line with many public school districts throughout the state: The Washtenaw County district gets more state dollars now than it did under Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s last budget in 2010-11, even though it now serves fewer students than four years ago. However, Dexter Community Schools Superintendent Chris Timmis says his district isn’t experiencing any real spending increase. Timmis calls the total of $1.8 million extra the district has collected from the state in those four years a...
  • Sweeney (D-NJ) wants federal loan program to rescue public worker pensions

    07/31/2015 9:39:05 AM PDT · by C19fan · 15 replies
    NJ.com ^ | July 30, 2015 | Samantha Marcus
    State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Wednesday the answer to New Jersey's rising public employee pension debt lies in creating a trillion dollar federal loan program that will help states avoid insolvency, spare millions of government workers from economic devastation and take the pressure off state budgets. The government aid program — which Sweeney stressed would not be a bailout — would allow financially strapped New Jersey to shed its $50 billion unfunded liability and cut the state's required annual pension contribution in half.
  • Trump tells Steve Rattner: 'You should have gone to prison'

    07/27/2015 2:30:02 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 83 replies
    CNN Money ^ | July 27, 2015 | Ahiza Garcia
    Presidential candidate Donald Trump is now taking on one-time Obama "car czar" Steve Rattner.On Monday, Trump fired off a tweet telling Rattner: "I think you should have gone to prison for what you did, I guess Obama saved you." He ended the tweet telling Rattner to watch: "I will win!" It was unclear what activity Trump was referring to that should have landed Rattner in jail. Trump did not respond to CNNMoney's request for comment. In 2010, Rattner did pay $10 million in fines when he settled with the New York state attorney general for his alleged involvement in a...
  • Pension doomsday: How will Illinois pols cope with this crisis?

    07/26/2015 8:40:19 AM PDT · by Second Amendment First · 47 replies
    Chicago Trubune ^ | JULY 24, 2015
    More bad news for Chicago (and Illinois) taxpayers arrived Friday morning in a 35-page, double-sided packet. On one of the last pages: "The entire Act is void." Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak tossed out Chicago's pension reform law. City Hall had negotiated the pension changes for municipal and labor employees with many of the city's unions on board. But Novak, using the Illinois Supreme Court's May pension opinion as her sword, ruled that the city's plan violates the Illinois Constitution: A public worker's pension is a contract that cannot be "diminished or impaired." lRelated Revenge of the pension...
  • Why Pensions Are A (Big) Black Swan – Chicago’s Unfunded Liabilities Are 10 Times Its Revenues

    07/19/2015 7:44:43 AM PDT · by george76 · 33 replies
    Investment Watch ^ | July 17, 2015 | John Rubino
    Why Pensions Are A (Big) Black Swan – Chicago’s Unfunded Liabilities Are 10 Times Its Revenues, 50% Of Their Cash That Will Have Go To Pensions. [ Full title ]. ... When talk turns to what might derail today’s debt-driven “recovery,” the big names and easy stories get most of the attention: China with its soaring debt, volatile equities and heavy-handed intervention; Japan with its stratospheric debt and science fictiony demographics; Greece, which needs no explanation; the developing countries with their weak currencies and mountain of dollar-denominated debt. And of course America’s triple bubble of stocks, bonds and derivatives. Underfunded...
  • Cook County Board OKs sales tax hike [ Illinois ]

    07/15/2015 5:26:25 PM PDT · by george76 · 22 replies
    Crain's Chicago Business ^ | July 15, 2015 | Greg Hinz
    Cook County Board today cleared the way for President Toni Preckwinkle's plan to raise the county's sales tax a penny on the dollar, mostly for pensions. The action came when the board's Finance Committee, which includes all board members, voted 9 to 7 to 1 to send the $474 million a year tax hike to the full board, which will consider it later today. The key votes came from Commissioner Luis Arroyo, a Chicago Democrat who voted "yes," and suburban Republican Elizabeth Gorman, who cast a "present" ballot and who is widely rumored to soon be headed to a new,...
  • How much could Chicago pension payments jack up your property tax bill? Try 30 percent

    07/05/2015 6:49:36 AM PDT · by george76 · 21 replies
    Crain's Chicago Business ^ | July 04, 2015 | Thomas A. Corfman
    Even as Mayor Rahm Emanuel warns about a property tax hike of up to $250 million for the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools, another big wave of increases likely is coming to rescue the pensions of police officers and firefighters. A massive payment due to those retirement plans next year could drive up Chicago property taxes by more than 30 percent, according to a Crain's analysis. And if the current logjam in Springfield continues, it could be a lot worse. Taxes on a $250,000 home would jump $224, assuming the city continues its current practice of using property taxes to fund...
  • Ballot initiative threatens state worker retirement security

    06/05/2015 4:16:52 PM PDT · by MeganC · 8 replies
    SEIU Local 1000 (via email) ^ | 6/5/2015 15:48 PST | SEIU Local 1000
    Ballot initiative threatens state worker retirement security A coalition of anti-union, anti-public employee groups, including the National Right to Work Committee, launched their latest attack against public employee pensions and the hard-earned retirement security of state workers. Their misleading campaign, called the “Voter Empowerment Act of 2016,” would undermine collective bargaining and require voter approval for changes to pensions and other retirement benefits, including medical insurance. “This dangerous initiative is a real threat to the financial security of our members and all public employees,” said Yvonne R. Walker, Local 1000 president. “It is more important than ever to become a...
  • Michigan School Pension Fund Liability Grows to $26.5 Billion

    06/05/2015 9:55:16 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 9 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 6/3/2015 | Tom Gantert
    The unfunded liability of the Michigan public school pension system increased from $25.8 billion to $26.5 billion from 2013 to 2014, according to an actuarial report released in May. The system's growing costs have been called a “budget killer” and are taking an increasing amount from the funding Michigan devotes to schools. The state has agreed in recent years to essentially pick up increases in the cost of the school pension system. These payments have risen from $155 million in 2012 to $796 million in 2015, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. Democratic politicians and union representatives have claimed that...
  • Unfunded State Employee Pension Liabilities Remain at $6.2 Billion

    06/05/2015 6:12:09 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 1 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 6/2/2015 | James Hohman
    Michigan’s closed state employee pension system got some good news this year: unfunded liabilities did not increase. But taxpayers are still on the hook for the $6.2 billion promised to retirees that the state has failed to save enough for. A new valuation shows the system’s liabilities grew roughly $500 million since the last report — but so did the value of assets set aside to cover those liabilities. The state carries $16.2 billion in pension liabilities, and $10.0 billion of investments. Some of the system’s previous assumptions have been updated to reflect actual experience, which added $400 million to...
  • Teamsters spend big on politics while preparing to cut pensions

    05/21/2015 6:25:39 AM PDT · by rktman · 13 replies
    washingtontimes.com ^ | 5/20/2015 | Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
    The Teamsters have begun informing retirees and current workers that their pension benefits may soon be cut, the final ironic twist to a lobbying campaign that saw the union spend its own members' dollars to win the right to shrink their retirement pay. The somber notifications began going out from the Teamsters Central States Health and Welfare Pension Fund this spring, a decision that could ultimately affect 410,000 current pension participants and a total of more than 10 million U.S. workers nationwide. Cuts could begin as early as next year.
  • Wiesenthal Centre urges Croatia to end pensions to Nazi allies

    05/19/2015 3:33:08 PM PDT · by Ravnagora · 6 replies
    AFP ^ | May 19, 2015 | AFP
    Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (AFP Photo/Christof Stache) Zagreb (AFP) - The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday urged Croatia to stop paying pensions to people who served in the country's World War II Nazi-allied armed forces, labelling the policy an insult to their victims. "In view of the horrendous war crimes committed in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH)... such a policy is inherently mistaken," the centre's chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in a letter to Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. Paying pensions to members of the WWII Ustasha armed forces...
  • Fossil Fuel Investments Yield Big Returns for State Pension Funds

    05/19/2015 2:09:00 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 3 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 5/15/2015 | Tom Gantert
    The oil and gas industry has been one of the better investments made by Michigan’s two largest government employee pension funds, according to a recent report by Sonecon LLC, a Washington D.C. economic advisory firm. The report examined the combined investment returns of Michigan's separate pension funds for school and state employees. Together, their investments in oil and natural gas companies gave a rate of return that was 37 percentage points higher than the return on all of their investments. Oil and gas investments outpaced investments in other industries by 43 percentage points. Due to chronic underfunding, both pension funds...
  • THE WATCHDOGS: Generous pension benefits only one part of state, city financial crisis ( Chicago )

    05/18/2015 7:03:55 AM PDT · by george76 · 13 replies
    Chicago Sun-Times ^ | 05/17/2015 | Chris Fusco, Dan Mihalopoulos and Patrick Rehkamp
    One of every four retired workers from the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools is getting a pension of more than $60,000 a year. That’s 80,365 people in all. For 13,240 of them, those checks provide a yearly income of $100,000 or more, a Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association analysis of pension records has found. An additional 20,004 have pension incomes totaling between $80,000 and $100,000 a year. ... the root of the problem is that government officials kept promising lifetime benefits to workers — and, in many cases, to their surviving spouses should they...
  • Illinois Supreme Court Strikes Down Law to Rein in Public Sector Pensions

    05/08/2015 7:36:14 PM PDT · by TurboZamboni · 70 replies
    WSJ ^ | 5-8-15 | Joe Barrett and Ben Kesling
    The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s 2013 pension overhaul, unraveling an effort by lawmakers to rein in benefits for the consistently underfunded public-sector system. The current pension shortfall is estimated at $111 billion, one of the largest nationally. The high court affirmed a decision in November by a state circuit court that the legislative changes violated pension protections written into the state constitution. The decision is a victory for a consortium of public-sector unions while creating a huge challenge for new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who already faces a yawning budget deficit for the coming fiscal year.
  • Illinois Justices Overturn State's Landmark 2013 Pension Law

    05/08/2015 9:08:03 AM PDT · by GIdget2004 · 39 replies
    ABC7chicago.com ^ | 05/08/2015 | AP
    The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 2013 law that sought to fix the nation's worst government-employee pension crisis, a ruling that forces the state to find another way to overcome a massive budget deficit. In a unanimous decision, the seven justices declared the law passed 18 months ago violates the state constitution because it would leave pension promises "diminished or impaired." The decree puts new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly back at the starting line in trying to figure out how to wrestle down a $111 billion deficit in what's necessary...
  • Here's Moody's latest sobering take on Chicago's pension crisis

    05/02/2015 8:00:06 AM PDT · by george76 · 15 replies
    Crain's Chicago Business ^ | May 01, 2015 | Thomas A. Corfman
    Chicago has a simple financial choice: Stay in frying pan or get in the fire. That in simple terms is what Moody's Investors Service said in a report today about the difficult options the Emanuel administration faces over the city's woefully underfunded pension funds. The city must cut spending and raise taxes now or the risks of becoming insolvent will grow, forcing even harsher decisions later. The credit rating agency offers a sobering reminder of what's at stake in the eight-page report, which focuses on the pensions problems. ... A CUT ABOVE JUNK. Moody's, typically the most conservative of the...
  • CPS' financial straits cost taxpayers with sharply higher interest rates on bond sale (Chicago)

    04/23/2015 1:27:44 PM PDT · by george76 · 3 replies
    Chicago Sun Times ^ | 04/22/2015 | Chris Fusco
    The Chicago Public Schools — already facing a federal criminal investigation of its CEO and a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit next school year — now must pay a price for those problems through higher interest rates on a new $300 million bond deal. The rates lured investors to buy the bonds, which CPS says it will use to pay off recently completed construction projects. But they also mean Chicago taxpayers will pay more over the life of the borrowing deal, financial analysts said Wednesday. The main bond issue — for $280 million to be repaid over 25 years —...
  • PERS reform bill author touts alternative to pensions (Nevada)

    04/17/2015 8:18:25 AM PDT · by redreno · 1 replies
    http://www.reviewjournal.com ^ | April 15, 2015 - 1:41pm | By SEAN WHALEY
    CARSON CITY — A state lawmaker pushing for major changes to the state public employee retirement plan told a committee Wednesday that long-term workers would do better under his proposal than with the current defined-benefit pension plan. Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, testified in support of his Assembly Bill 190 in front of the Ways and Means Committee. The bill would establish a new hybrid retirement plan for public employees hired as of July 1, 2016. The bill is fiercely opposed by public employee groups who argue the existing Public Employees Retirement System plan is well-managed and does not need to...
  • Wall Street Fees Wipe Out $2.5 Billion in New York City Pension Gains

    04/13/2015 12:02:34 PM PDT · by NRx · 24 replies
    NY Times ^ | 04-08-2015 | PATRICK McGEEHAN
    The Lenape tribe got a better deal on the sale of Manhattan island than New York City’s pension funds have been getting from Wall Street, according to a new analysis by the city comptroller’s office. The analysis concluded that, over the past 10 years, the five pension funds have paid more than $2 billion in fees to money managers and have received virtually nothing in return, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in an interview on Wednesday. “We asked a simple question: Are we getting value for the fees we’re paying to Wall Street?” Mr. Stringer said. “The answer, based on...
  • Greece prepares for debt default if talks with creditors fail

    04/14/2015 6:22:37 AM PDT · by mykroar · 7 replies
    Financial Times ^ | 4/13/15 | Kerin Hope and Tony Barber
    Greece is preparing to take the dramatic step of declaring a debt default unless it can reach a deal with its international creditors by the end of April, according to people briefed on the radical leftist government’s thinking. The government, which is rapidly running out of funds to pay public sector salaries and state pensions, has decided to withhold €2.5bn of payments due to the International Monetary Fund in May and June if no agreement is struck, they said. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste...
  • Which States Have the Most Underfunded Pensions?

    04/04/2015 10:53:36 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 16 replies
    American Thinker ^ | 04/04/2015 | Larry Alton
    Pension funding is a hot topic in the political world. Retirees who have worked their entire lives end up retiring with very little to their name or have a very difficult time accessing their funds. These problems vary from state to state, with underfunded pensions accounting for the worst. Many states promise a certain amount for public employee retirement benefits, but don’t deliver in the end. According to this post from State Budget Solutions, last year’s unfunded pensions reached an all-time high of $4.7 trillion. This funding gap is affecting every state, but for some it hits harder than...
  • Outrageous public pensions could bankrupt these states

    03/30/2015 5:31:21 PM PDT · by george76 · 25 replies
    Yahoo -FT ^ | 3-30-2015 | Steven Malanga
    Some of the worst public-sector pension problems in America are playing out in states and cities where legislation or local court rulings have granted extraordinary protections to workers’ retirement benefits—far beyond those enjoyed by private-sector employees. ... One can see a glimpse of Illinois’s possible future in Arizona. Last year, the state’s Supreme Court overturned 2011 pension reforms that, among other things, sought to curb expensive annual cost-of-living increases for judges, legislators, and ... The predicament faced by Illinois and Arizona should be a warning, especially to other states where government pensions enjoy extraordinary legal protections. Raising benefits or shortchanging...
  • Cities on the brink? Municipal pensions causing fiscal frailty

    03/28/2015 7:22:38 AM PDT · by Citizen Zed · 56 replies
    abc 27 news ^ | 3-27-2015 | Dennis Owens
    A shocking chart released this week shows that nine of the top ten cities have more retirees collecting pensions than current employees contributing to the fund. It’s happening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Harrisburg. “It’s a major problem,” said Representative Seth Grove (R-York). “We have local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy.” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has been raising alarms across the state about the fiscal frailty of municipal pensions. “One-quarter of all the municipal pensions in the United States are in Pennsylvania,” DePasquale said. That’s a lot of little communities managing pension plans and DePasquale says nearly half...
  • Oklahoma Shows Pension Reform Can Boost a State's Credit Rating

    03/26/2015 6:45:54 AM PDT · by MichCapCon
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 3/23/2015 | Jack Spencer
    Opponents of closing the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System have pitched an argument that doing so might have a negative impact on the state’s credit rating. That may seem an unlikely argument given the system's chronic underfunding — and one state's experience suggests the opponents have it exactly backwards. Persistent underfunding has contributed to an unfunded liability of nearly $26 billion in the state's school pension system. This is up from $17.6 billion as recently as 2010, despite two rounds of partial reforms (in 2010 and 2012) that did not prevent new employees from being enrolled in the current...
  • State on Required Payments for School Employees' Pension: 'The Check is in the Mail'

    03/24/2015 1:53:26 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 5 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 3/18/2015 | Tom Gantert
    For the past few years, public school administrators, officials and Democratic politicians have complained of alleged school budget “cuts.” Although spending has actually gone up, an ever-larger share of the state's education budget is being consumed by growing shortfalls in the school employee pension system. Nevertheless, only twice in the past 10 years has the state of Michigan met the "annual required contribution" that the pension system's own accountants say is needed each year to eventually close the underfunding gap, given assumptions about the future growth of its resources. Specifically, net contributions fell short by $2.2 billion from 2005 to...
  • Exclusive: San Bernardino (CA) has defaulted on $10 million in bond payments

    03/19/2015 7:32:02 AM PDT · by C19fan · 12 replies
    Reuters ^ | March 17, 2015 | Tim Reid
    The southern California city of San Bernardino has defaulted on nearly $10 million in payments on its privately placed pension bond debt since it declared bankruptcy in 2012, according to documents seen by Reuters. In addition, the city has not negotiated with its bondholders since September, according to a person familiar with the stalled negotiations. The missed payments illustrate the trend among cities in bankruptcy to favor payments to pension funds over bondholder obligations, which has increased the hostility between creditors and municipalities.
  • Greece Passes Law To Plunder Pension Funds

    03/12/2015 12:01:39 PM PDT · by tcrlaf · 50 replies
    Zerohedge ^ | 3-12-2015 | Durden
    Having previously hinted that they might 'dip' into public pensions funds for some short-term cash to payback The IMF, and then confirming that the plan is to repo that cash from pension cash reserves (raising concerns about how they will unwind the repo - i.e. pay it back); the Greek government finally signed the bill today that enables them to plunder the Greek people's pension funds (for their own good). The massive irony of this bill is the bill enables greek deposits to be fully invested in Greek sovereign bonds... which Tsipras and Varoufakis both admitted today is "unsustainable" and...
  • 'If It's Not Illegal, It Should Be'

    03/12/2015 8:49:04 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 2 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 3/9/2015 | Tom Gantert
    State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was on the Senate floor Thursday when he learned of a “sweetheart” deal between the Lansing School District and the president of the state’s largest teachers union. The district has for several years allowed Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook to be considered a “school employee.” This lets Cook remain a member of the public school pension system, despite the fact that he actually works full time for a private organization. Moreover, Cook is accruing pension benefits based on his $201,613 union salary, setting him up for a much higher post-retirement payout from the...