Tag archive for Pension

Winners and losers in Rhode Island

The settlement between the state of Rhode Island and its public employee unions–in which the unions agreed to drop their lawsuit against pension reforms in exchange for the state modifying terms of the reforms–still leaves in place some of the most significant changes to government pensions that we’ve seen anywhere since states and cities started trying to deal with their retirement debt in the wake of the 2008 markets’ collapse. That’s the good news…

AFT’s Weingarten: Call for better actuarials a ‘guise’ to lower pensions

FoxBusiness.com has a new site devoted to the country’s public pension crisis, and in the lead slot is a 30-minute interview with American Federation of Teachers’ president Randi Weingarten. She spends much of her time not directly discussing the pension crisis or its causes, instead …

Did Vallejo voters jumpstart work on a new road to bankruptcy?

Less than two years after exiting bankruptcy, the city of Vallejo faces new financial distress thanks to its failure to deal with its pension costs while in Chapter 9. Despite that, voters last week elected a new slate of council officials backed by the Jumpstart …

Were San Jose workers really ‘victims’ of their politicians?

Monday’s New York Times piece on San Jose’s efforts to sustain the pension reforms voted by city residents contains a few lines that carry forward a theme emerging in other articles about severely underfunded pensions, namely that the employees were just victims of politicians who promised them …

Defined benefits and the public pension pathology

Rick Dreyfuss below points out that while there is nothing inherently wrong with defined benefit pension plans, they don’t mix very well with politics because of how politicians can manipulate the vulnerabilities of these plans.
Another observer, Boston University Law School Professor Jack Michael Beermann, describes …

Merit pay for legislators? Not in California

Now that California residents have voted $7 billion in new taxes on themselves, the state legislature is taking advantage of the new revenues to restore cuts to their hefty salaries. The state’s legislators are already the highest paid in the country, but they took a small …

Benefit costs gobble up more of school budgets

According to a new Census report, America’s public schools spent slightly less in 2011 than they did in 2010, according to a new census report, but the cost of employee benefits continued to grow, reflecting a 20-year trend in which benefit costs have risen much more …

Jerry Brown: Tax increases hurt

California Gov. Jerry Brown championed a $7 billion tax increase last November as the fiscal medicine for California’s future. After his Proposition 30 passed, Brown was exultant. At a budget presentation in early January he projected a $4.5 billion surplus and declared California was back. Not quite so much, now, however. In his budget update earlier this week, Brown cut estimates of the state’s budget surplus for this year by $1.7 billion based on estimates of lower tax collections for the rest of the year. One reason is tax increases…by the federal government!

Taxpayers are losers in Stockton, no matter what

In the last several days I’ve been asked by media outlets a number of times whether the bankruptcy judge’s ruling on Monday that Stockton’s Chapter 9 filing can go forward represented a victory for taxpayers. If so, it’s a hollow victory, at best. The judge himself made that clear in the text of the ruling, in which he elaborated on the depredations currently being suffered by Stockton residents. I know that some think that Chapter 9 is a great way to give unions their comeuppance by voiding contracts and reducing retirement benefits, but taxpayers are  always the losers by the time we get to the point that a city qualifies for bankruptcy, as the judge ruled. It’s worth listening to some of the judge’s descriptions of what’s going on in Stockton.  

California teachers don’t get Social Security. So what?

In a Sac Bee article about the  funding problems at the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), which requires an astonishing $4.5 billion a year in additional annual contributions from government (on top of the $5.7 billion in state and local contributions it already receives), …