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Keyword: pensions

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  • 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 ó which Sweeney stressed would not be a bailout ó 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 Ė Chicagoís 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 Ė Chicagoís 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 todayís debt-driven ďrecovery,Ē 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 Americaís 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 ďVoter Empowerment Act of 2016,Ē would undermine collective bargaining and require voter approval for changes to pensions and other retirement benefits, including medical insurance. ďThis dangerous initiative is a real threat to the financial security of our members and all public employees,Ē said Yvonne R. Walker, Local 1000 president. ďIt 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 ďbudget killerĒ 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
    Michiganís 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 systemís liabilities grew roughly $500 million since the last report ó 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 systemís 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 Michiganís 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. Thatís 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 ó 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 stateís 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 ó already facing a federal criminal investigation of its CEO and a projected $1.1 billion budget deficit next school year ó 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 ó for $280 million to be repaid over 25 years ó...
  • 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 ó 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 Cityís pension funds have been getting from Wall Street, according to a new analysis by the city comptrollerís 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. ďWe asked a simple question: Are we getting value for the fees weíre paying to Wall Street?Ē Mr. Stringer said. ďThe 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 workersí retirement benefitsófar beyond those enjoyed by private-sector employees. ... One can see a glimpse of Illinoisís possible future in Arizona. Last year, the stateís 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. Itís happening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Harrisburg. ďItís a major problem,Ē said Representative Seth Grove (R-York). ďWe have local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy.Ē Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has been raising†alarms across the state about the fiscal frailty of municipal pensions. ďOne-quarter of all the municipal pensions in the United States are in Pennsylvania,Ē DePasquale said. Thatís 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 stateís credit rating. That may seem an unlikely argument given the system's chronic underfunding ó 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 ďcuts.Ē 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 ďsweetheartĒ deal between the Lansing School District and the president of the stateís largest teachers union. The district has for several years allowed Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook to be considered a ďschool employee.Ē 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...
  • Moody's downgrades CPS credit rating [ Chicago Public Schools ]

    03/07/2015 5:45:37 AM PST · by george76 · 7 replies
    Chicago Sun Times ^ | 03/06/2015 | Maudlyne Ihejirika
    Moodyís Investors Service on Friday announced it had reduced its rating on Chicago Board of Education debt to one level above junk bond status. Moodyís downgraded the rating to Baa3 from Baa1 on the boardís general obligation debt. That rating applies to a total of $6.3 billion in outstanding debt held by Chicago Public Schools. That lowered rating, according to Moodyís, ďreflects CPSís continued relianceĒ on its reserves to cover ongoing operating expenditures, ďparticularly pension contributions, which will steadily increase in the coming years.Ē ... the lowered CPS rating also takes into account the cityís own credit rating, which also...
  • Early retirement getting more rare for Minnesota public employees

    03/01/2015 8:24:16 AM PST · by TurboZamboni · 23 replies
    Pioneer Press ^ | 3-1-15 | Maryjo Webster
    Marlene Nelson loved teaching, but after 35 years she was ready to retire the first chance she got. When she became eligible for her pension at age 55 because of an early-retirement incentive known as the Rule of 90, she and her husband sold their home in Glenwood, Minn., and moved someplace warm. "I really would've liked to have taught a little longer, but I just wanted to go out liking my job," Nelson said. She and her husband have spent the past four years living modestly off their two pensions in Arizona. This kind of Utopian early retirement is...
  • Cracks Starting to Appear in Public Pensionsí Armor

    02/25/2015 7:24:29 PM PST · by Brad from Tennessee · 16 replies
    New York Times ^ | February 25, 20015 | By Mary Williams Walsh
    First in Detroit, then in Stockton, Calif., and now in New Jersey, judges and other top officials are challenging the widespread belief that public pensions are untouchable. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey delivered the latest blow on Tuesday, when he proposed to freeze that stateís public pension plans and move workers into new ones intended not to overwhelm future budgets or impose open-ended demands on taxpayers. The first crack came in Detroit, where a judge ruled that public pensions could, in fact, be reduced, at least in bankruptcy. Then, just a few weeks ago, an opinion by the bankruptcy...
  • New Poll Reveals Strong Majority of Americans Support Pension Reform

    02/12/2015 2:14:19 PM PST · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 12 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 2-12-15 | Kati Siconolfi
    State pension plans across the country continue to face significant fiscal challenges. In fact, nonpartisan fiscal watchdog State Budget Solutions estimates that state pension unfunded liabilities now total $4.7 trillion. The latest Reason-Rupe national telephone poll of more than 1,000 adults reveals that state pension unfunded liabilities have captured public attention. Americans strongly support pension reform in order to help governments keep their pension promises to retirees and current employees, while protecting taxpayers. Americans are rightly concerned about unfunded liabilities in state pension systems. According to the Reason-Rupe poll, absent pension reforms, 72 percent of Americans believe that their state...
  • Don't look now but Illinois new GOP governor is taking on public employee unions

    02/11/2015 11:57:43 AM PST · by Cincinatus' Wife · 12 replies
    New Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois is taking on the most powerful special interest in the state - public employee unions - and he's getting some support from Democrats. In truth, Rauner has little choice. Public union pensions are out of control. The pension crisis in Illinois is easily the worst in the nation and the Rauner administration is already looking for ways to cut benefits - a move that would have been considered sacrilegious previously but is now being considered even by Democrats. Also, Rauner issued an executive order: prohibiting unions from collecting so-called fair share fees from...
  • Emanuel won't rule out property tax hike for police, fire pensions ($550 million)

    02/01/2015 4:16:33 AM PST · by Libloather · 15 replies
    Chicago Tribune ^ | 1/30/15 | John Byrne
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday defended the way he has dealt with the city's looming financial crisis against attacks from his challengers, touting his record of crafting the city's budget during his first term but refusing to rule out a property tax increase to deal with huge upcoming government worker pension payments. The back-and-forth took place at the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsement session, the second time all five mayoral candidates appeared face to face. City Hall has a looming $550 million payment to make to shore up police and fire department pensions, and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti called...
  • Fixing Michigan's Budget-Killing School Employees' Pension Up in the Air

    01/30/2015 11:10:16 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 2 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/29/2015 | Jack Spencer
    Anyone seeking evidence that the new state Senate would vote to reform the Michigan Public School Employeesí Retirement System by putting new employees into 401(k) plans may be disappointed. Based on responses from six GOP Senators who were not in office when the question came up for a vote nearly three years ago, the prospect is a murky and tenuous ďmaybe.Ē In what was seen as a surprise move at the time, on May 17, 2012, the Senate voted 20-18 to close the pension system to new hires and offer them 401(k)-style plans in its place. But then the House...
  • Teacher Pensions Going To Kill Us All

    01/28/2015 5:49:29 PM PST · by Tolerance Sucks Rocks · 27 replies
    The Daily Caller ^ | January 27, 2015 | Blake Neff
    Teacher pensions are a huge and growing crisis waiting to explode without major reforms, warns a new report released Tuesday by an educational think tank.‚ÄúDo the math on teacher pensions and it just doesn‚Äôt add up,‚ÄĚ argues the National Council on Teacher Quality in its report, Doing the Math on Teacher Pensions. Total unfunded teacher pension liabilities in 2014 were a whopping $499 billion dollars, the group found. That amount is surging rapidly; in 2012, the total was just $394 billion, meaning that pension debt is growing by over $50 billion a year.Some states are in a particularly huge hole....
  • University of California Pension Costs Force Tuition Increase

    01/16/2015 1:02:35 PM PST · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 11 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 1-16-15 | Ben Wilterdink
    Time and time again, California proves itself to be a what-not-to-do handbook for states looking to responsibly balance their budgets. This reputation was clearly on display by the University of California Board of Regentsí decision to increase the cost of tuition by 25 percent over the next five years. The increased tuition wonít be going to make improvements for students but rather will almost certainly go directly into funding for UCís underfunded and mismanaged pension system. The University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) is facing a major shortfall. In making sure that it is funded adequately enough to pay current...
  • Detroit and Stockton Are Just the Beginning of an Attack on Public Pensions

    01/02/2015 11:11:55 AM PST · by Libloather · 79 replies
    New Republic ^ | 12/22/14 | Claire Groden
    This year, judges in California and Michigan approved the exit plans of two of the largest municipal bankruptcy filings in the countryís history. In California, Stockton upheld its obligations to the stateís pension system behemoth, Calpers, while paying its other creditors as little as pennies on the dollar. Detroit, meanwhile, was able to restructure its obligations to all of its creditors, including city pensioners. While the exit plans differed, both judges ruled similarly: public pension obligations could be shortchanged like any other debt. Stockton and Detroit aren't alone. Cities and states across America are facing catastrophic budget shortfalls. After decades...
  • Congress moves one step closer toward allowing pension cuts

    12/12/2014 12:28:34 PM PST · by WhiskeyX · 27 replies
    Yahoo Finance ^ | 3 hours ago | CNN Money
    More than a million retired and current truck drivers, construction workers and other union workers could see their pension benefits cut if the U.S. Senate passes a proposal aimed at shoring up some of the nation's biggest pensions. The House of Representatives approved the proposal late Thursday night as part of a last-minute government spending bill. The bill now heads to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the funding bill by midnight on Saturday. ÓĀĪ ÓÄÄ ÓÄĀ ÓĀĹ .
  • You are Entering the Government Pension Zone ...

    12/11/2014 1:52:05 PM PST · by MichCapCon · 8 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/9/2014 | James Hohman
    Most people donít understand how government defined-benefit pension systems operate, which is one of many obstacles to reforming the deeply underfunded systems. Part of the problem is that the methods used in pension funding and accounting are very different from anything a regular person ever faces in their own personal finances. For example, people rarely buy a product, including a financial product, without knowing its cost. But projecting the cost of pension systems requires making various assumptions about the future to decide how much must be contributed to meet defined-benefit pension promises. Making a wrong assumption can put taxpayers on...
  • Myth And Muddle Blocking Pension Reform

    12/05/2014 8:07:17 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 4 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/3/2014 | Jack Spencer
    Unfunded liabilities for government pension plans nationally are measured in the trillions of dollars. The mounting debts siphon off a growing proportion of taxpayer money, often at the expense of core government services including public safety. In the private sector many businesses avoided this debt-inducing problem years ago by switching from defined-benefit pension systems to defined-contribution systems, of which 401(k) plans are the best known but not the only example. Thereís no quick way out of this fix governments have got themselves in, but they can stop digging a deeper hole by no longer enrolling new employees in the liability-prone...
  • Labor unions celebrate judge's ruling against Illinois pension law

    11/21/2014 4:07:11 PM PST · by mdittmar · 32 replies
    WBEZ ^ | November 21, 2014 | Tony Arnold
    An Illinois judge has ruled unconstitutional a controversial plan to reduce state employeesí retirement benefits. Labor groups sued the State of Illinois for passing a bill reducing their membersí pension benefits. The unions representing downstate and suburban teachers, university employees and most other state workers argued the state constitution says, specifically, that retirement benefits canít be diminished. On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz agreed.Belz quoted directly from the state constitution in his six-page decision, citing the passage that states retirement benefits ďshall not be diminished or repaired.Ē He singled out components of the bill that narrowly passed...
  • Bankruptcy Judge Calls for Better Pension Funding

    11/20/2014 12:19:41 PM PST · by MichCapCon · 9 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 11/19/2014 | James Hohman
    Detroit bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes called on the state to address the underfunding of local government pension benefits in his oral opinion. He stated that the state has a ďconstitutional, legal and moral obligation to assure that the municipalities in this state adequately fund their pension obligation.Ē A governmentís own employees should not be its largest creditors, nor should retirement benefits they have earned be placed at risk, as happened in Detroit. There are a number of current bills that would help local governments avoid underfunding, and the Legislature should consider passing them. When an employee earns pension benefits, the...
  • Illinois Pension Debt Soars To $111 Billion

    11/18/2014 3:40:41 AM PST · by george76 · 12 replies
    Zero Hedge ^ | 11/17/2014 | Tyler Durden
    Pension debt in the Land of Lincoln is a big problem. So big, in fact, that it would take three years of a complete government shutdown, during which the entire general fund went toward pensions, just to break even. No funding for schools, no money for public safety and nothing for health care and human services. Illinoisí unfunded pension liability grew to more than $111 billion this year, according to official estimates. Thatís a $48 billion increase just since 2009. ... That $111 billion pension shortfall means the state now has only 39 cents of every dollar it should have...
  • Appeal threatens Stockton bankruptcy ruling on pensions

    11/14/2014 1:43:53 PM PST · by Mariner · 26 replies
    The Sacramento Bee ^ | Nov 14th, 2014 | By Dale Kasler
    Taking aim again at government pensions, an angry creditor in Stocktonís bankruptcy case is appealing a pivotal court ruling that preserved the cityís retirement plans. Franklin Templeton Investments filed a notice of appeal this week, challenging the Oct. 30 decision that approved Stocktonís reorganization plan. The plan keeps the pensions fully funded but pays Franklin, which loaned the city $36 million during better economic times, just 12 cents on the dollar. The case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento has been a major legal test of the sanctity of public pensions in California. City officials and CalPERS, which runs the...
  • California pension funds are running dry

    11/15/2014 5:32:20 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 54 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | 11/15/2014 | MARC LIFSHER
    A decade ago, many of California's public pension plans had plenty of money to pay for workers' retirements. All that has changed, according to a far-reaching package of data from the state controller. Taxpayers are now on the hook for billions of dollars more to cover the future retirements of public workers, with the bill widely varying depending on where they live. The City of Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System, for instance, had more than enough funds in 2003 to cover its estimated future bill for workers' retirement checks. A decade later, it is short $3 billion. The...
  • Unfunded Government Pension Liabilities Reach $4.7 Trillion

    11/14/2014 1:39:42 PM PST · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 12 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 11-14-14 | Ben Wilterdink
    As newly elected state legislators across the country consider what issues to address, they are likely to encounter the growing storm cloud of unfunded pension liabilities. According to Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014, a new report from the non-partisan government watchdog group State Budget Solutions, unfunded public pension liabilities in the states now total $4.7 trillion. For years many state governments have been over-promising pension benefits and using accounting gimmicks to hide the true cost of a state pension fundsí actual unfunded liability. Many state governments still utilize a defined-benefit pension system, where retired state employees are paid out a...
  • Fat pensions for outgoing lawmakers

    11/06/2014 8:57:57 AM PST · by Rusty0604 · 8 replies
    CNN Money ^ | 11/06/2014 | Chris Isidore
    More than a dozen members of Congress were defeated on Tuesday night. But taxpayers will still have to keep sending most of them checks. Members of Congress are eligible for a pension after just five years in office, so that means senators qualify for one after a single six-year term. But most can't start drawing full payments until age 62. North Carolina's Kay Hagan, for instance, lost her first bid for reelection. For senators and representatives with only six years in office, the annual pension is about 10% of annual pay -- in Hagan's case, that's $17,400 a year based...
  • New Municipal Bankruptcy Ruling Highlights the Need for Pension Reform

    10/21/2014 1:59:55 PM PDT · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 19 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 12-21-14 | Ben Wilterdink
    Recently, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled that the city of Stockton, California could reduce the amount it was obligated to pay in pension costs and could even leave the stateís retirement system (CalPERS). The significance of this decision is difficult to overstate. Pensions were long thought to be absolutely sacrosanct and unable to be cut, even in bankruptcy, especially since pension obligations are specifically protected under state law. Judge Kleinís ruling has highlighted the fact that political promises must bend to the reality of numbers. The impetus for this ruling was another creditor of the city of Stockton that,...
  • Bankruptcy Judge Hammers Unions by Allowing Stockton Pension Cut

    10/04/2014 10:22:18 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 23 replies
    Breitbart California ^ | October 4, 2014 | Chriss W. Street
    In what will be a devastating blow to California public employee unions, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled in the Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy of the City of Stockton that pensions managed by the California Public Employee Retirement System, known as CalPERS, can be cut in bankruptcy ďlike any other garden varietyĒ unsecured debt. He rejected the unionsí argument that the worldís largest pension fund is an ďarm of the stateĒ and that public employee pensions are protected by federal and state laws. Stockton city employees and city council members, who are all CalPERS pension beneficiaries, received retirement benefit enhancements...