Keyword: pensions

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  • 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.     .
  • 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 dont 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. Theres 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 employees retirement benefits. Labor groups sued the State of Illinois for passing a bill reducing their members 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 cant 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 shall not be diminished or repaired. 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 constitutional, legal and moral obligation to assure that the municipalities in this state adequately fund their pension obligation. A governments 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. Illinois unfunded pension liability grew to more than $111 billion this year, according to official estimates. Thats 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 Stocktons bankruptcy case is appealing a pivotal court ruling that preserved the citys retirement plans. Franklin Templeton Investments filed a notice of appeal this week, challenging the Oct. 30 decision that approved Stocktons 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 funds 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 states 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 Kleins 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 like any other garden variety unsecured debt. He rejected the unions argument that the worlds largest pension fund is an arm of the state 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...
  • Federal judge questions sacredness of government employee pensions

    10/02/2014 9:27:04 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 14 replies
    American Thinker ^ | 10/02/2014 | Thomas Lifson
    When government employees buy the California legislature with huge campaign contributions, one of the benefits they expect in return is absolute protection of the lush pensions they are promised, even when their employer goes into bankruptcy. Thus, California law insists that Calpers, the state-backed agency used to provide many government employees with their pensions, is granted very special powers, including the right to seize assets and liquidate them to provide for full payment of pensions, even when other creditors are paid a penny on the dollar.But yesterday, a federal bankruptcy judge in California issued a preliminary ruling indicating that once...
  • 10 Facts About Pension Systems in Michigan

    09/26/2014 1:30:08 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 6 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/21/2014 | Jarrett Skorup
    The late Illinois politician Everett Dirksen once said, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money." Though that was in the 1960s, a billion dollars is still real money today. But it is one of those numbers thrown around so much in the political realm that it is hard for people to grasp. It is difficult to avoid numbers when talking about underfunded pension systems, but here are some illustrations that will hopefully help readers grasp the enormity of the problem in Michigan. 1. The school retirement system (MPSERS) is underfunded $25.8 billion the highest...
  • Michigan Now Spending More on Teacher Retiree Liabilities Than Prisons

    09/25/2014 10:13:02 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 8 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/24/2014 | Tom Gantert
    The state of Michigan will spend more money in 2015 on trying to catch up on underfunding for the public school employees pension liabilities and retirement health care than it will spend on the Michigan Department of Corrections. Michigan is planning on spending $1.937 billion to catch up on underfunding for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System and another $880 million to catch up on public school employee retiree health care costs. The states 2015 budget for corrections is $2.040 billion. In 2013, the state underfunded its annual costs for pension and retiree health care for public school employees....
  • Where $100 Million Buys Little: The Pension Fund

    09/09/2014 9:50:03 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 5 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 9/8/2014 | Anne Schieber
    If youre looking to save money, making extra payments on your mortgage can be a painless way to do it. Just an extra $1,000 each year, for example, could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Now, imagine paying the mortgage for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. The pension liability (just the debt) of this program is so big and will require so many years to pay it off, it is easier to think of it in terms of a mortgage. Just like a mortgage, the state has a payment schedule to pay...
  • Spain Robs the Pension System to Pay its Bills

    08/22/2014 2:19:52 PM PDT · by Kaslin · 23 replies ^ | August 22, 2014 | Mike Shedlock
    The "recovery" news in Spain keeps piling up. Via translation from El Economista, Government has already taken 37% of the total 'pensions piggy bank'. If extractions continue at the current rate, the fund would be exhausted in 4 years. The Government of Mariano Rajoy has released 24.65 billion euros of the Social Security Reserve Fund in less than two years. Such amount represents nearly 37% of the total 66.815 billion fund accumulation. That figure marks the highest cumulative piggy bank draw-down in history, following its commissioning in 2000 and after eleven years in which successive governments did not need to...
  • What Will Cities Do To Solve Their Pension Problems?

    08/07/2014 12:34:21 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 25 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 8/4/2014 | Jarrett Skorup
    As pension funding crowds out important functions of local governments like police and fire protection, roads and even streetlights, many municipalities have begun shifting towards 401k-type accounts for new employees. But other cities have not. Capitol Confidential has examined the most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) of Michigans 100 largest municipalities. Of the 10 municipalities with the lowest funding ratios for their pension systems, only two of them have begun shifting employees away from the defined benefit pension system. Lincoln Park has only put away 32 cents on the dollar for its pension obligations. It began offering the option...
  • Government Pensions Make Big Bucks Off 'Corp Deserters'

    08/06/2014 7:02:38 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 3 replies
    Fox Business News ^ | 08/06/2014 | By Elizabeth MacDonald
    Its not just fat cat hedge funds, banks or Wall Street investment companies that benefit when U.S. companies cut their tax bills by moving their headquarters overseas via mergers with foreign concerns. More than a dozen state government pension funds that run retirement accounts for government workers like teachers, cops and firemen own big chunks in these corporate deserters, too. Five U.S. companies merging with overseas concerns have big state government pension investments amounting to nearly $2 billion, based on data provided by Richard Peterson, senior director at S&P Capital IQ. But you dont hear about government pension investments in...
  • The Worst Funded Pension Systems In Michigan

    08/01/2014 5:42:33 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 7 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 7/30/2014 | Jarrett Skorup
    A large cause of Detroits historic bankruptcy in 2013 was its grossly underfunded retiree systems for public employees. At the time, the estimates of the amount of unfunded liabilities in the general pension system ran from 94 percent to 65 percent. But few people realize that many of Michigans largest cities have pension benefit systems in far worse conditions than Detroit. A review of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) by Capitol Confidential of the employee pension systems for Michigans 100 largest municipalities shows that many of them are 65 percent funded or worse. One system, Lincoln Park, is only...
  • Legislators Should Look To Oklahoma To Address Pension Change Transition Costs

    06/25/2014 1:39:32 PM PDT · by MichCapCon · 1 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 6/23/2014 | James Hohman
    The unfunded liabilities for Michigans school pension fund increased to $25.8 billion this year. Legislators may feel that there is nothing to be done to prevent these liabilities from racking up, but theyre wrong. They can close the plan and offer new employees participation in a defined contribution plan, where the state cannot underfund benefits. Recent developments in Oklahoma shed light on how they can do this without triggering restrictive transition costs. In the face of growing unfunded liabilities in its pension system, Oklahoma closed its pension system to new employees of the state and participating municipalities. The state now...
  • Teacher Pension System Liabilities Increase Again

    06/23/2014 11:26:58 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 3 replies
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 5/21/2014 | Tom Gantert
    Public school administrators have called the costs for the teachers' pension fund a budget breaker. They won't be happy to learn the costs are increasing. The Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) saw its unfunded liability increase to $25.8 billion in 2013 from $24.3 billion in 2012, according to the annual actuarial valuation report from the accounting firm, Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company. The pension liability in 2009 was about $12 billion. James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the additional unfunded liability is from the low rate of returns during...
  • Fort Worth joins cities with excess unfunded pensions

    06/17/2014 6:59:14 AM PDT · by rstrahan · 6 replies
    Fort Worth Star Telegram ^ | 6/17/2014 | Cary Hirst
    Transparency is coming home to hit he City of Fort Worth with municipal pensions. $1.2 billion in unfunded liabilities. The city changed the growth calculation for benefits reducing the pension payout over a long period, but the Police and FD unions filed suit. Taxpayers will ultimately have to suck up this plus the continues growth.
  • Exclusive: Too big-to-fail pension insurer agrees to liquidation trust in ResCap NY bankruptcy

    05/23/2014 4:18:34 AM PDT · by Opinionatedtoday · 5 replies ^ | Marinka Peschmann
    Is a taxpayer bail-out inevitable? If you think it is only your mortgages and homes which are at stake in the largest bankruptcy in history being heard in the Southern District of New Yorks Bankruptcy Court before Judge Martin Glenn, think again. Embedded within the claims/creditor section in the simultaneous Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings of 51 residential mortgage companies is Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Established in 1974, PBGC is a federal chartered agency that insures more than 26,000 private-sector pension plans. The agency protects the retirement incomes of over 44 million Americans. As of 2012, PBGC is running a...
  • Closing Pensions a Litmus Test for Detroit Reform

    05/21/2014 8:07:09 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 2 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 5/18/2014 | Jack McHugh
    A Detroit money-grant and reform legislative package just introduced in the Michigan House contains dozens of new institutional arrangements, but just two critical and concrete changes to the city's finances, one of which is both long term and potentially transformational all by itself: Ending the practice of granting new city employees traditional defined benefit pensions. Guess which provision is being attacked by defenders of the Detroit status quo, including unions, special interests and the city's political class? Yet whether the reform package represents something more than just a cover story for delivering more loot to a dysfunctional city comes down...
  • State of Minnesota may soon control your retirement savings

    05/15/2014 7:13:10 AM PDT · by TurboZamboni · 41 replies
    MN Freedom Foundation ^ | 5-8-14 | Jonathan Blake
    Earlier this week, House and Senate conferees agreed to final language for the Womens Economic Security Act (WESA). While most of the attention has focused on the bills family and sick leave provisions, one particularly bad policy provision has attracted little attention. Specifically, WESA lays the groundwork for a state-administered retirement savings plan for employees in the private sector. Yes, this would essentially be a government-run retirement plan controlled by the State Board of Investment. The ramifications of such a plan could be devastating for private sector employees as well as taxpayers who would likely be on the hook for...
  • Employees of private groups that lobby Albany qualify for state pensions

    05/11/2014 6:11:13 AM PDT · by Behind Liberal Lines · 7 replies
    Post Standard Syracuse NY ^ | May 11, 2014 at 2:40 AM | By Michelle Breidenbach |
    SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New York state taxpayers are funding the retirement pensions for more than 100 private employees of groups that lobby Albany on behalf of local governments even though they are not public employees. The state is already paying for the retirement of 65 employees who counted one of the following nonprofits as their employers: New York State Conference of Mayors, New York State School Boards Association, New York State Association of Counties and the New York State Association of Towns. Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, have introduced bills in each house this spring to...
  • How Michigan Can Fix Its Pension Problems

    05/05/2014 6:34:51 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 4 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 5/1/2014 | Jarrett Skorup
    LANSING There are an estimated $730 billion to $4 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities across the states. These costs are crowding out services, harming communities, and causing public employees to worry that governments cannot keep their promises. Its time to do something about that before it gets too late, said former Utah State Sen. Dan Liljenquist at an event on Wednesday. Liljenquist helped usher through reforms in Utah that shifted public employees to a 401(k)-type plan and was named public official of the year in 2011 by Governing Magazine. He spoke at an Issues & Ideas forum hosted by...
  • How 7 minutes could cost a troopers widow millions

    04/28/2014 8:41:29 AM PDT · by Oshkalaboomboom · 59 replies
    NY Post ^ | April 27, 2014 | Susan Edelman
    On Dec. 7, 2009, New York State Police narcotics investigator Richard OBrien fell off a ladder while fixing his mothers roof. He lived for only three more hours after the fall but in that brief time, fellow troopers tried to have him retired on disability. Now, Stephanie OBrien, his widow, is fighting in court, saying a faulty fax machine and a measly seven minutes mean she and the couples daughter would get a $342,000 death payout rather than lifetime benefits that could total in the millions. The case is the first involving an officer filing for a disability...
  • Quinn tells lawmakers to make 'hard choice' on keeping tax hike (another broken promise)

    03/26/2014 7:48:50 PM PDT · by Beave Meister · 4 replies
    The Chicago Tribune ^ | 3/26/2014 | Ray Long and Monique Garcia
    Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn today proposed making permanent the temporary income tax increase he signed into law three years ago, fully framing the debate over his fall re-election bid against Republican Bruce Rauner who wants the tax hike rolled back. Delivering his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Quinn sought to offer some sweeteners for keeping the tax increaseincluding a doubling of the tax credit for lower-income workers and offering a flat $500 property tax rebate to benefit homeowners. "As a result of our hard work to restore fiscal stability -- from spending reductions to pension...
  • Other Michigan Cities in Pension Debt: Not just a Detroit problem

    03/25/2014 11:29:38 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 11 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 3/20/2014 | James Hohman
    Detroit's pension woes are in the news, but municipal employees around Michigan should not presume that their pension systems are secure. Indeed, in most Michigan cities the underfunding problems are worse than those in Detroit. On paper, the unfunded liabilities for Detroit's police and fire system are $147 million, and its general employee pension system underfunding comes to $838 million. That translates into 96 percent and 77 percent funded, respectively. That is, for every dollar in pension benefits earned by an employee, the city has an average of 87 cents saved. That's not good, but the 2012 financial statements of...
  • Public-Sector Pensions are Eating Taxpayers Alive

    03/24/2014 7:31:40 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 46 replies ^ | March 23, 2014 | Jeff Jacoby
    Some of my best friends, to coin a phrase, are lifetime government employees. When they stop working, their pensions will put them among the highest-earning retirees in the country. On a personal level, I'm glad my friends' retirement will be so comfortable. But as a taxpayer, I know that their good fortune, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of government workers like them, will only worsen a swelling political and fiscal crisis. Around the country governments are facing a tidal wave of pension obligations that they haven't figured out how to pay for. By some estimates, the states' long-term unfunded pension...
  • Unions: 'Will that Be Cash, Credit or Corruption?'

    03/17/2014 4:41:21 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 7 replies ^ | March 17, 2014 | John Ransom
    While its a truism that for every finger you point at someone else youve got three pointed right back at you, for liberals its part of their laws of physics. It would be impossible for the laws of liberals to govern without this binding hypocrisy that keeps them in orbit. Thats why it shouldnt surprise you that for all the leftist rhetoric about corporations and greed contributing the decline of the country, theres one corporate outfit thats really screwing up this country- and its a creation and a creature of the left. Like most Big Left organizations it is...
  • Tax Reform and Pension Reform

    03/13/2014 2:08:57 PM PDT · by ThethoughtsofGreg
    ALEC ^ | 3-13-14 | Ben Wilterdink
    Congressman Dave Camps recently released tax reform draft has stimulated a much-needed national conversation about the U.S. tax code, attracting praise, criticism and skepticism. Buried in the plan is one tax change that could significantly influence the pension reform debate now raging nationwide at the state and local level. Camps plan would require top earners to pay a surtax on previously untaxed municipal (muni) bond interest. Currently, state and local governments use tax-exempt muni bonds to fund capital projects such as bridges and new school buildings. The proposed surtax might negatively affect top bracket taxpayers willingness to invest in muni...
  • Pension Expert: Local Pennsylvania Downgrades Lurk

    03/10/2014 2:45:04 PM PDT · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 7 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 3-8-14 | ALEC
    With new accounting rules looming, states and municipalities are beginning to realize that their unfunded pension liabilities are much more severe than they had previously estimated. Defined-benefit pension plans, the standard for government employees, have wreaked havoc on state and local budgets for years. Unrealistic assumptions about the rate of return on pension investments is one cause for the plans regular underfunding, assuming an average uninterrupted 8 percent rate of return forever. ALECs recent publication, Keeping the Promise: State Solutions for Government Pension Reform, provides an excellent blueprint for policymakers to understand the pension problem and offers concrete solutions on...
  • Whats behind Illinois employment collapse?

    03/02/2014 11:42:15 AM PST · by Beave Meister · 31 replies
    Illinois ^ | 2/24/2014 | Michael Lucci
    A smaller and smaller percentage of adults are working to support the entire state population. Why does this matter? Because a booming economy provides the benefits of opportunity and upward mobility. But not only that. Growing the number of taxpayers is essential for funding core government services and pension bills. The only other tools legislators have are tax hikes, which have done more to chase away taxpayers than to fund the government. The percentage of the working-age population that is employed fell by 5.6 percentage points, from 65 percent in January 2008 to 59.4 percent in December 2013. This percentage,...
  • 4 Pension Myths That Keep Us From Making Badly Needed Reforms

    02/24/2014 2:18:23 PM PST · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 2 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 2-24-14 | Will Freeland
    As 2014 brings in new struggles for cities and states to pay for employee legacy costs while still funding the essential functions of government, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are reconsidering how to provide a secure retirement for state and municipal employees in a responsible manner. Reports estimate total unfunded pension liabilities exceed $4 trillion across the 50 states, and Detroits municipal bankruptcy, along with dozens more over the last half decade, are just the tip of the iceberg. Many thoughtful criticisms have come from reform discussions, but also many attacks built on misconceptions, straw man arguments and...
  • How Politicians Game the Pension System

    02/21/2014 6:27:15 PM PST · by MichCapCon
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/19/2014 | James Hohman
    No one questions that employers should pay the pensions that its employees earn. Yet in Michigan and across the country, government pensions systems have failed to set aside the money required to pay those pensions. Michigan's recent discussion of education funding reiterates that there are few political incentives to ensure that pensions are properly funded. The state has increased its support of government schools in Michigan. The school aid budget, which pays for government schools, increased by roughly $800 million from the budget passed before the Snyder administration to the most recently approved budget. Yet, some school administrators and union...
  • Cornyn a triple dipper; received three public pensions plus salary in 2012 (Oct 3, 2013)

    02/20/2014 12:19:24 PM PST · by jimbo123 · 20 replies
    Longview News Journal ^ | 10/3/13 | Potomac In The Pines
    Texas Republican John Cornyn supplemented his Senate salary with a trio of public pensions last year from his days as a Texas judge and elected official a practice some fiscal watchdog groups have attacked as "double dipping." Cornyn, who is the minority whip and the No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate, reported collecting $65,383 in public retirement benefits in 2012 in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. senator.
  • John Cornyns Three Pensions Make for One Uncomfortable GOP Situation (2013)

    02/20/2014 8:15:52 AM PST · by jimbo123 · 34 replies
    Daily Beast ^ | 6/19/13 | LLoyd Grove
    Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas likes to present himself as a deficit hawka red-state conservative who believes that Congress must be a good steward of the taxpayers money, as his official website declares, and that fiscal responsibility is the cornerstone for good governance. So the revelation in the National Journal that the 61-year-old Cornyn is collecting three different state-government pensions while receiving his federal salary as a senator (a total of $239,383 in taxpayer-funded largesse) is slightly off-message, and just a tad inconvenient, as he gets ready to run for a third term next year. Theres a lot of...
  • State Still Underfunding Teacher Pensions

    02/19/2014 8:07:57 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 3 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/17/2014 | James Hohman
    Michigan's school employee pension system is underfunded by $23 billion and to return it to full funding, it is necessary to continue to pay the system's annual required contribution. The annual required contribution is the amount necessary to pay for the pensions that employees earn and to catch up on unfunded liabilities under the state's assumptions. The state has not been paying the full amounts. The annual required contribution last fiscal year was $1.9 billion, but the state put in only $1.4 billion. This has been a long-term problem. The state only paid its full contribution in two of the...
  • Sen. Cornyn Reveals Not One, Not Two, but Three Public Pensions Atop His Salary (2013 Flashback)

    02/13/2014 12:29:14 PM PST · by jimbo123 · 13 replies
    National Journal ^ | 6/17/13 | Shane Goldmacher
    The Texas Republican earned $65,383 in retirement benefits last year; amended disclosure to show he's been collecting one pension since 2006. Texas Republican John Cornyn supplemented his Senate salary with a trio of public pensions last year from his days as a Texas judge and elected officiala practice some fiscal watchdog groups have attacked as double dipping. Cornyn, who is the minority whip and the No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate, reported collecting $65,383 in public retirement benefits in 2012 in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. senator. Cornyns office did not respond to requests for comment....
  • Prepare For When The New MyRA Becomes "TheirRA"

    02/10/2014 11:11:19 AM PST · by blam · 10 replies
    Market Oracle ^ | 2-10-2014 | Peter Krauth
    Prepare For When The New MyRA Becomes "TheirRA" Personal_Finance / Pensions & Retirement Feb 10, 2014 - 06:47 PM GMTPeter KrauthBy: Money_Morning Personal Finance Peter Krauth writes: In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled something new: a retirement savings account to "help" Americans build a nest egg, coining it the "MyRA." Something immediately felt wrong about the proposal... but I couldn't put my finger on it. So I researched the new MyRA and found details to help you understand just how it works. But I also saw some potential dangers there that you need to prepare...
  • Voters in bankrupt San Bernardino sweep old guard from power

    02/06/2014 9:17:29 AM PST · by Beave Meister · 5 replies
    Reuters ^ | 2/5/2014 | TIM REID
    (Reuters) - Residents of bankrupt San Bernardino, California on Tuesday voted to complete a rout of the city's pro-union old guard, electing business-friendly pragmatists who have pledged to try to reduce pension costs and take on vested interests. As San Bernardino enters into a fourth month of mediation with its creditors, the biggest of which is Calpers, California's giant retirement system, voters on Tuesday elected Carey Davis as the crisis-hit city's new mayor. Davis, a businessman and political novice, ran in part on a campaign to reduce the city's pension obligations. In an interview in November, when he became one...
  • California's And America's Pension Debacle On Its Way: Watch Your Wallets

    02/06/2014 6:36:25 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 9 replies
    IBD ^ | 02/06/2014 | Mark Bucher
    Hold on to your wallets, folks. Without a powerful intervention, California may soon become the first big domino to fall in America's public pension debacle. To help prevent catastrophe, the California Public Policy Center (CPPC) has just made public a new database detailing the size and scope of the state's outsized expenditures on public employees the largest ever compiled in California. Legislators and voters should take note, because California can't afford another round of fact-free partisan warfare. As recently reported in the New York Times, the fate of California cities such as Desert Hot Springs where civic bankruptcy...
  • Boehner proposes linking debt-limit hike to a restoration of recent cuts to military benefits

    02/05/2014 7:49:41 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 23 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | 5 Feb 14 | Robert Costa
    House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled on Wednesday to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal governments borrowing authority. Though Boehner (R-Ohio) did not formally endorse the idea as his own, he did ask his lieutenants to test it among rank-and-file Republicans. House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled on Wednesday to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of...
  • Federal employee unions use tax-funded official time, money to build political muscle

    02/05/2014 7:18:05 PM PST · by gooblah · 2 replies
    Foxnews ^ | February 05, 2014 | Mark Flatten
    A leaner union contract had been imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association was not happy about it.
  • US Congress revisits military pension cuts amid outcry from veterans' groups

    01/28/2014 3:10:56 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 33 replies
    The Guardian and AP ^ | 28 Jan 14 | Staff
    Congress is revisiting its decision to cut annual cost-of-living adjustments (Cola) to pensions for most working-age military retirees after talk of the cuts drew outrage from veterans' groups and others. The budget agreement approved this month reduced those adjustments by 1% annually once a service member retires until that retiree reaches 62. Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee, back from a week-long break in their home states, said they were interested in repealing the Cola change scheduled to take effect on 1 December 2015. But Pentagon officials asked them to hold off on making any more changes until a...
  • San Franciscos Gay Icon Larry Brinkin Guilty of Felony Child Porn Possession

    01/28/2014 12:11:26 PM PST · by ColdOne · 77 replies ^ | 1/28/14 | cnsnews
    ( Larry Brinkin, who worked at the Human Rights Commission for the City of San Francisco for 22 years and was a prominent homosexual rights activist for more than 40 years, pleaded guilty to felony child pornography possession last week. Brinkin is expected to serve six months in jail, five years of probation, and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life when he is sentenced on Mar. 5. But he likely will get to keep his city pension because possessing and viewing child porn apparently is not considered a crime of moral turpitude under San...
  • Why Detroit Pensions are Underfunded

    01/24/2014 9:27:27 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 11 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/19/2014 | James Hohman
    Detroits bankruptcy has meant that the citys pensioners may receive less than what they expected. This has angered a lot of people and blame has been pointed in many directions. There are a lot of reasons why Detroits pension systems are in poor shape and there is plenty of blame to go around. The most basic reason that pensions are underfunded in Detroit is simple: the city did not properly fund the system. During good times, the city oversold benefits and its assumptions have proven ineffective at keeping pensions funded during bad times. A retirement system can offer generous pensions...