» Pensions

Philly goes nuclear, cancels teachers’ contract

nocontractIn a startling move against an intransigent union, the special commission that manages the Philadelphia school system has cancelled the system’s teachers’ contract and imposed reductions on benefits costs to salvage the budget of the badly indebted system. The move, in which the Philadelphia School Reform Commission invokes emergency powers, comes after the teachers’ union spent more than a year resisting concessions…

Stockton ruling changes California’s pension landscape

A federal bankruptcy judge’s verbal ruling on Wednesday truly was a game-changer when it comes to scaling back unsustainable pensions in California.
As I’ve detailed for PSI, California’s pension reformers have had little to cheer about even as the dismal unfunded-liability numbers and increased pension contribution …

Sparse ballot year for pension reform initiatives

This is a busy campaign season, given congressional mid-term elections and 36 governor races. State ballots are also full of direct democracy votes, a total of 148 initiatives of one sort or another according to Ballotpedia. But distinctly missing from ballots at the state level are any pension or government labor reform measures…

Taxpayers don’t have a chance in the way CalPERS is run

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System may be the nation’s largest state pension fund, basically a government agency with the ability to impose enormous debts on the state’s taxpayers, but those taxpayers don’t even have a minimal say in how it’s run. We can complain …

To hedge or not to hedge

The $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), America’s largest public pension fund, is eliminating its $4 billion stake in hedge funds due to their “complexity, cost, and the lack of ability to scale,” the fund’s interim chief investment officer has just announced. But the …

GOP’s Fung has his own R.I. pension reform story

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s victory in the Sept. 9 Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial primary has attracted a lot of national attention (see here, here and here, for instance) in large part because of her successful state pension reforms. But her Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, has his own retirement reforms to tout in a state where municipalities have been under severe pressures from rising retirement costs, too…

Raimondo wins gubernatorial primary in RI

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo won the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s nomination for governor yesterday. It was a hard fought race, where public sector unions, who were angry about a pension reform measure she engineered in 2011, backed her opponents.  Her victory is something of a referendum …

Pensions drive local taxes up, up and away in PA….

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s call for pension reform hasn’t resonated with the state’s residents, which is one big reason why Corbett hasn’t been able to persuade even his own Republican colleagues in the state legislature to enact changes to the state’s underfunded pensions. But now that municipal and school taxes are going up around the state in direct response to higher pension costs…

When reporters don’t bother reading budgets….

The Grey Lady had a story Monday on how Los Angeles can’t afford to invest in its crumbling infrastructure because of a continuing budget squeeze. The story starts off with an embarrassing mistake, confusing the LA County budget ($26 billion) for the city budget ($8.1 billion)–see correction at end of later editions. Then it contains not a single other budget number of consequence throughout, suggesting the reporter never bothered (or wasn’t capable of) reading the city’s budget. That’s one reason why the story only briefly mentions pensions but hangs the problem on a host of other issues including (wait for it) Californians’ aversion to higher taxes (yeah, really)…

The cost of pensions: decrepit cities and not just huge debt

Many people’s eyes still glaze over when I talk about unfunded pension liabilities. Often I see people looking at their watches and trying to figure out an exit plan at the mere mention of the name, California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS). But average folks …