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  #601  
Old 04-28-2017, 06:59 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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HOUSTON, TEXAS

https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/a...-not-approved/

Quote:
Turner Warns Of Layoffs If Pension Plan Is Not Approved
The Mayor says “hundreds” of police officers and firefighters would be impacted.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is warning the City might have to lay off between 1,700 and 2,200 employees if the Texas Legislature doesn’t approve the reform of the City’s pension system this year and those layoffs could have a negative effect on public safety.
During the customary press conference held after the Wednesday City Council meeting, Turner noted that if the pension reform bill fails in Austin the Houston Police and Fire Departments will feel the pain because the City would face a deficit of approximately 240 million dollars for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.
“We are probably talking about laying-off a few hundred more of the police officers, certainly talking about laying off, yeah, several hundred firefighters and you are talking about laying off a lot of municipal workers,” the Mayor said.
Ray Hunt, president of the Police Officers Union, criticized State Senator Paul Bettencourt, who is trying to add other requirements to the pension deal.
“We cannot handle massive layoffs and when this city is jeopardized, when our officers’ safety is jeopardized and when the citizens are jeopardized,” Blunt stated at the press conference “I’m gonna lay it right at the feet of Paul Bettencourt if he continues to gum up this process.”

Bettencourt told Houston Public Media he feels both surprised and saddened that the amendment he is proposing –which has to do to with retirement benefits for new hires— is causing such a reaction from City Hall.
Specifically, Bettencourt supports defined contribution plans for new hires.
Those plans mean the City and the worker put money in a pension account that fluctuates with the market, similar to how 401(k) plans work.
Bettencourt argues that, without defined contribution plans, public retirement systems make the debt of entities like the City of Houston unsustainable and also increase property taxes.
Out of the three City’s pension funds, the one for the City’s firefighters –the other two are the ones that represent police officers and municipal workers— is the only that doesn’t agree with the reform the City has proposed and sent to the Legislature.
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  #602  
Old 04-28-2017, 06:59 PM
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MICHIGAN

https://protectpensions.org/2017/04/...ver-good-idea/

Quote:
ATTENTION MICHIGAN: CLOSING A PENSION SYSTEM IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA

Is anyone else experiencing some serious deja vu?

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has been tossing around the idea of closing the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) pension plan and moving new hires to a defined contribution 401(k). If this sounds familiar, it’s because Republican legislators attempted this a mere 5 months ago during a lame-duck session. That attempt was soundly defeated following a vigorous backlash from both working people and the Governor’s administration.

Despite their recent failure, these anti-pension lawmakers are at it again with a renewed attempt to weaken the retirement security of Michigan’s public school employees (you know, the people who oversee the education of our children for an average of salary of $61,875 per year).

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: closing a pension system is never a good idea. One need look no further than the states and cities that have closed their pension systems to learn of the costly ramifications that follow. What’s most baffling, perhaps, is that Michigan is one of those states.

In 1997, the Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS) pension plan was closed and new hires were placed in a 401(k)-style plan. At the time of the plan’s closure, the funded status was 109%. With no new employees paying into the pension fund and an aging demographic, plan costs soared and the funding level dropped; by 2012, the plan was severely underfunded at 60.3%. After 20 years under the 401(k) plan, the state’s Office of Retirement Services found that the median balance in these accounts is just $37,260.

While Michigan continues to suffer the consequences of the MSERS closure, other states and municipalities have realized the error of their ways and taken steps to reinstate closed plans.

In 2005, West Virginia reopened its pension system for teachers after closing the plan in an attempt to improve funding levels in the early nineties. In less than a decade after the plan’s reopening, funding levels more than doubled and teachers now enjoy access to a secure, dignified retirement.

After the Great Recession decimated 401(k) accounts across the country, state employees in Connecticut banded together and campaigned for the right to join the closed state pension system. They were successful, and in 2012, transfers out of the faltering 401(k) plan and into the pension began. Estimates place the total cost savings for the State of Connecticut as a result of these transfers at $10 million per year.

State employees weren’t the only ones in Connecticut to recognize the value of a pension: firefighters in the city of New London moved back to a pension in 2014 after the previous defined contribution plan failed to provide adequate financial security for retirees.

Aside from providing employees with the most secure retirement, pensions also serve as a valuable tool to recruit and retain talented workers. In 2012, the city of Palm Beach, Florida moved from a traditional pension to a hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan. The city lost 24 public safety officers to neighboring jurisdictions and another 28 left the following year. Without competitive retirement benefits to offer, Palm Beach’s police and fire departments were inexperienced and understaffed. In 2016, the city council voted to return to a traditional defined benefit pension.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it – and Michigan legislators clearly haven’t learned from their own recent history. Closing a pension plan is a surefire way to cause funding levels to plummet while plan costs soar. Not to mention the increased cost of offering a defined contribution plan; according to the National Institute on Retirement Security: “For a given level of retirement income, a typical 401(k) plan costs 91% more than a typical pension plan.”

It’s time for Michigan legislators to retire the idea of closing MPSERS once and for all. As long as they continue to push this failed policy, they’ll have to answer to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose retirement security is on the line.


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  #603  
Old 04-28-2017, 07:00 PM
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics...2KDDSB,35QRY,1

Quote:
Bill to shore up Chicago municipal workers’ pensions passes House


The Illinois House on Thursday once again passed a bill designed to shore up the pension funds for Chicago laborers and other city workers — a measure with identical language to a bill Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed in March.


The House approved the measure 63-45.

The Senate bill — which was part of the “grand bargain” package and passed the Senate in January — would put more money into retirement systems covering some 88,000 city workers, excluding police officers and firefighters, who are covered by separate pension funds. The Illinois House passed an identical bill in December and it was unanimously approved by the Senate in January. Rauner vetoed it, saying it will “create another pension-funding cliff that the city does not have the ability to pay.”

The latest bill had no support from House Republicans. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said he wouldn’t support the measure without statewide pension reform.

“House Republicans are sensitive to the fiscal issues confronting Chicago and its pension system. However, we are confronted with the same problems with our 5 state pension systems which for all practical purposes are in worse shape,” Durkin said in a statement. “Unless paired with statewide pension reform, SB 14 today is a non-starter. The deadline to pass the Chicago Pension Bill should be extended so as to include with negotiations on broader pension reform.”

The governor, too, has said he needs wider reaching government pension reform in order to support the measure. He’s also questioned the use of revenue in the bill, which would resort to the city using property-tax money to fund pensions after it runs out of funds from a new tax on city water and sewer service.

The new bill now goes to Rauner’s desk. If he vetoes it, 71 votes will be required to override his veto — which is not possible without Republican support.

On the House floor, Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, said the bill would order “a tax increase on the people of the city of Chicago.”

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Barbara Flynn Curie, D-Chicago, said the measure would help “the city solve its own problem” and that it would make the funds whole: “We will not be looking at bankruptcy within the next 10 years.”

......
Under the plan, city taxpayers would contribute millions more a year to the municipal workers’ and laborers’ pension funds. To pay for the increased contributions, the City Council approved a new tax on city water and sewer service. Without acting, the Municipal Employees Pension Fund would be left with a gaping hole in 2023 — even after a utility tax is fully phased in — that would require tax increases to honor the city’s commitment to reach 90 percent funding over a 40-year period.

In mid-September, the City Council easily approved the mayor’s plan to slap a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund. But the Illinois General Assembly still needed to sign off on employee concessions tied to the deal, as well as the funding schedule for the five-year ramp to actuarially required funding.

The same goes for the mayor’s plan to save the Laborers pension fund, bankrolled by a previously approved, 56 percent tax on monthly telephone bills.

The workers’ concessions call for employees hired after Jan. 1 to become eligible for retirement at age 65 in exchange for an 11.5 percent pension contribution. That’s 3 percentage points higher than employees pay now. Veteran employees hired after Jan. 1, 2011, get to choose between contributing 11.5 percent for the right to retire at 65 or continuing to pay 8.5 percent and waiting until 67 to retire.

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  #604  
Old 04-28-2017, 07:01 PM
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ILLINOIS
CRIMINAL OFFICIALS

http://www.1430wcmy.com/wcmy-news/20...lative-pension

Quote:
Hastert Loses Legislative Pension
Former U.S. House Speaker has already lost teacher pension

(Springfield, IL) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is losing his remaining Illinois pension benefits. The board governing legislative pensions voted today to revoke his pension because of his federal conviction on banking violations.

Those banking crimes were linked to Hastert's attempt to cover-up his sexual abuse of teenage boys when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach prior to his political career. Pension board members differed over whether Hastert's cover-up was connected to his time as a state lawmaker, but the board voted 5-2 to revoke his $2,300 monthly pension rather than just reduce it.

Hastert has already lost his state teachers' pension, but still gets his Congressional pension because his banking crimes happened after he left Washington. An attorney for Hastert says he may appeal.

http://wymg.com/news/101101-hastert-...-the-way-down/

Quote:
The wrestling coach who became one of the most powerful men in the nation was hiding a secret, and you know it by now. Denny Hastert is serving federal prison time for improper bank withdrawals meant to cover up long-ago allegations of child molesting. A panel of lawmakers has revoked a $28,000 annual pension from Hastert’s time in the Illinois General Assembly.

But Hastert was never convicted of child molesting. And do the allegations undo the years he spent as a state lawmaker?

“The attorney general wrote, in what I consider to be a thorough opinion, about the nexus between his service in the General Assembly and his actions as a teacher,” said State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), one of only two members to vote to reduce, but not revoke, that pension.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside), voting with the 5-2, majority to revoke the pension, saw it differently.

“We were posed with the question of whether, in light of what he was convicted of, should the General Assembly Retirement System continue to make those payments,” he said, “I think the will of the board was, given the nature of the allegations, which were that he was structuring payments to avoid confrontation with a victim, that would have brought to light some of the abuse, it fell within the parameters of the legal theory that he should lose his benefit.”

Hastert is serving a federal prison term for the financial improprieties.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170426/il...n?rssfeed=true

Quote:
Trustees of a state retirement board on Wednesday terminated the pension that imprisoned former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert received for his nearly six years of service in the Illinois General Assembly.

The General Assembly Retirement System’s board of trustees voted 5-2 to end Hastert’s $28,000 annual pension. Hastert, 75, is serving a 15-month prison term in a hush-money case that stemmed from his sexual abuse of students when he taught at an Illinois public school more than 35 years ago. The Republican pleaded guilty in 2015 to federal bank violations and is scheduled to be released Aug. 16.

Hastert’s attorneys declined comment on the decision Wednesday. Hastert has the option of appealing in state court, and the Chicago Tribune reported that Hastert attorney Mark DeBofsky wrote a letter to the board last month saying Hastert intended to appeal any termination or reduction in benefits.

Illinois law allows for the state to revoke the pensions of those convicted of felonies connected to their time serving in the state legislature.

“Neither the indictment nor the disposition of the criminal case implicated any wrongdoing by Mr. Hastert during the time he served in the General Assembly,” DeBofsky wrote.

Board member state Rep. Michael Zalewski, a suburban Chicago Democrat, argued that Hastert’s crimes were designed to protect his political career.

“I would argue his political career is part and parcel with his career as a General Assembly member because his General Assembly career led to his congressional career,” Zalewski said.

But state Rep. David Harris, a Republican from suburban Chicago, said the board should have followed a recommendation from the Illinois attorney general’s office to reduce Hastert’s pension.

The Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System previously revoked the pension money Hastert earned for his time as a teacher in Yorkville. He still is eligible for pension funds from his time in Congress.

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Old 04-28-2017, 07:03 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orlea...cc4b36bdf.html

Quote:
Amid strong opposition from city employees, Councilwoman Stacy Head pulls plan to reform pension system

After a boisterous New Orleans City Council committee meeting Thursday at which dozens of city workers railed against a proposal to make the municipal pension plan less generous for newer employees, the proposal was yanked by its sponsor, who pledged to try to craft more widely acceptable changes.

But it’s unclear whether any future revisions by Councilwoman Stacy Head could gain the support of her colleagues, some of whom shied away from any move to alter the pension system so close to October's municipal elections.

“I’m not going to move this to the full council,” Head said. “But Councilmember Brossett, you will be able to cast that ‘no’ vote before you leave office.”

Just moments before, Councilman Jared Brossett had said the changes should be shelved until the council’s next term, when Head will be out of office.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey questioned whether enough research had been done to prove that the system is in poor enough financial shape to warrant such an overhaul.

Others said the city should first hand out raises before stripping away a popular benefit, despite Head's touting of a study now underway of just how much money the city should pay its employees.

In a nutshell, the proposed changes would have made newer employees — who make up almost two-thirds of the workers enrolled in the New Orleans Municipal Employees' Retirement System — work more years before being vested or eligible for retirement. Those workers also would accrue benefits at a slower rate.

In addition, the plan would have either ditched cost-of-living adjustments for all retirees until the system is nearly fully funded or else required the city and employees to contribute extra money to fund those increases.

Also drawing plenty of attention was Head’s proposal to reduce what is known as the “multiplier,” or the percentage by which the city multiplies an employee’s highest three years of salary in order to calculate their retirement benefit. A lower multiplier means a lower monthly payout.

The bulk of the changes would have affected new hires or city employees with fewer than 10 years of experience.
.....
Impassioned pleas from employees aside, city budget director Cary Grant said the city's pension fund, at 72.4 percent funded, is already in better shape than many others. Few municipal systems in the country are fully funded, and 80 percent funding, a threshold private plans are required to meet, has long been used as a benchmark for a healthy plan.


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Old 04-28-2017, 07:12 PM
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PENNSYLVANIA

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...300437350.html

Quote:
PA Treasurer Joe Torsella Sets New Low-Cost "Passive" Investment Strategy
Torsella follows up on promise to fight Wall Street fees to protect taxpayers

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a move that follows through on his promise to fight for taxpayers by protecting their money, PA Treasurer Joe Torsella announced today that he will transition all of Treasury's $2.4 billion public equity investment holdings to a passive investment strategy, saving an estimated $5 million per year in fees (approximately $195 million in total savings when compounded over twenty years.) Torsella said the move will reduce investment risk and improve return to taxpayers, by eliminating high management fees paid to outside firms that frequently underperform the market. The move also takes another step toward changing the pay to play culture that has plagued the Commonwealth for decades.

"I took an oath to put the public's interests first, not Wall Street's," Torsella said. "Study after study has shown that a passive investment approach for stocks, by dramatically reducing the costs to taxpayers, has a high likelihood of performing much better than a high-fee active investment approach over the long term."

Torsella directed Treasury's investment team to transition all public stock holdings to passive strategies over the next six months, joining growing numbers of investors embracing passive investing as smarter fiduciary management. Approximately $1 billion of the total $2.4 billion equity portfolio is currently actively managed, and will be redirected to lower-cost passive investments.

The move comes just months after Torsella banned the use of placement agents in all Treasury investment contracts on his first day in office. Placement agents have been at the heart of scandals involving past state treasurers, and are still in use in some areas of state investment that Treasury does not directly oversee.

Passive, or index-style, investments buy and hold all the stocks in a fund that mirrors a market index such as the Standard & Poor's 500 or the Russell 3000. With extremely low fees, investors get better returns than they would from funds with similar holdings but higher management fees and transaction costs, which act a drag on investment performance. In recent years, passive investing has become the "strategy of choice" and continues to grow, according to the Wharton School of Business.

"Overwhelming research shows that while some active managers will of course manage to outperform the markets in any given period, it is both extremely difficult for a manager to do so consistently over time, and extremely difficult for investors to identify which managers will outperform in the future," Torsella said. "And trying to find those managers by looking in the rearview mirror doesn't help."

"We shouldn't treat investing public funds like a casino game, trying to 'beat' the market, and paying casino prices to do it. Instead, we should capture the underlying market return at the lowest possible cost. The broad strategic allocation of investment funds is the single most important decision for any investment portfolio. We can't control investment performance or consistently beat the market, but the one variable we can control is costs – and I have a fiduciary obligation to taxpayers to do so."

Comprehensive research by Standard and Poor's shows that in most cases, active managers are unable to pick enough winners to justify their fees: over the most recent ten-year period, 87.47% of all actively managed US stock funds underperformed a broad market index. In that same ten-year period, a majority of all international stock funds also underperformed.

Legendary investor Warren E. Buffet recently urged investors to adopt passive strategies, calculating that pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals have paid over $100 billion in the last decade to hedge funds and other money managers that charge sky-high fees for sub-par performance. As Buffett wrote: "The bottom line: When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients. Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds".

For a copy of a PA Treasury Passive Investment Guide, click here.

http://patreasury.gov/assets/pdf/Pas...urce-Guide.pdf

http://www.governing.com/week-in-fin...m_medium=email

Quote:
Pay to Play? Hardly.

Pennsylvania is going with passive funds. That was the message this week from State Treasurer Joe Torsella, who says he plans to move the state’s $1 billion in actively managed public equity (stock) funds over to index funds within six months.

Index, or passive, funds are known for their lower fees and lower volatility. Rather than managed by a trader, these funds are built using computer models that are designed to mimic the performance of stock indexes like the S&P 500. Torsella expects the shift to save at least $5 million a year in fees.

The treasurer’s announcement is part of an effort to return faith in the office after his predecessor left in disgrace amid a pay-to-play scandal. Former Treasurer Rob McCord pleaded guilty in 2015 to federal charges that he used his office to influence future investment deals and other contracts as a way raise cash for a failed gubernatorial bid.


The Takeaway: The decision to switch to passively managed funds and save money on fees is a growing trend among large investors. Nevada’s $35-billion pension plan, for instance, has long embraced the strategy. And within Pennsylvania, the $509-million Montgomery County Employees Retirement Plan shifted most of its investments to index funds in 2013. So far, the plan has out-performed the state's pension plan -- and at a far lower cost.

While Torsella's announcement is ostensibly about the state’s own investments, it raises the possibility that the treasurer will push for a similar shift in the state’s troubled pension funds. If he does, he'll have to get a consensus: Pennsylvania’s pension funds are controlled by boards.

Either way, Torsella said of the decision: “We shouldn’t treat investing public funds like a casino game, trying to ‘beat’ the market, and paying casino prices to do it.”

Rolling the Dice

Speaking of actively managed funds, a new report released this week by the Pew Charitable Trusts looks at public pension funds’ use of highly volatile "alternative investments."

Unlike public stocks and funds, alternative investments can mean anything from hedge funds to real estate investments. They are known for being far less transparent in terms of their day-to-day performance, and for having higher fees because they are actively managed by someone who is making daily investments and trades in the pursuit of high returns.

In its analysis, Pew found that the 73 largest state public pension funds’ “shift to more complex investments has significantly increased fees, volatility and potential losses.” Already, roughly $4 billion in investment fees are unreported each year. The report also noted that “funds with recent and rapid entries into alternative markets ... reported the weakest 10-year returns.”

The Takeaway: As public pension plans have become more pressured to keep up high returns, they have turned over more of their investment portfolio to these high-risk, high-reward investments. Few people believe that investing in alternatives is a bad idea outright, but the chorus of concerns around transparency and high fees has grown louder in recent years. Pension plans from California to South Carolina have been trying to get a handle on what they’re actually paying these fund managers.

The main question for institutional investors: Are the higher fees worth the performance? Without full disclosure of those fees and, as a result, not knowing the overall cost of these investments, that’s a question that few folks can honestly answer.
https://www.ai-cio.com/news/pennsylv...ing-bandwagon/

Quote:
Pennsylvania Gets on Indexing Bandwagon


Joining the growing trend towards indexing, Pennsylvania is moving its $2.4 billion in public equity investments into passive investments. Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella expects the move to save the state about $5 million a year in fees paid to managers who frequently underperform the market, cut down in investment risk, and also provide a better return to the state’s taxpayers.

According to Torsella, “I took an oath to put the public’s interests first, not Wall Street’s. Study after study has shown that a passive investment approach for stocks, by dramatically reducing the costs to taxpayers, has a high likelihood of performing much better than a high-fee active investment approach over the long term.”

The state will gradually transition its public equity holdings, about $1 billion of which is actively managed, to passive investments over the next six months. The passive investing approach is gaining in popularity and has become a “strategy of choice,” according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

While there are some active managers who are adept at beating the market for any defined period, it is difficult to find those who achieve this feat consistently. Another factor that sways Torsella towards passive investing is the difficulty in identifying those managers who will outperform in the future, aslooking at past performance does not help.

He said he would prefer not to make a casino game of investing public funds in an attempt to beat the market. Rather, his aim is to “capture the underlying market return at the lowest possible cost.” To this end, he sees the “broad strategic allocation of investment funds” as the most important decision for an investment portfolio. “We can’t control investment performance or consistently beat the market, but the one variable we can control is costs – and I have a fiduciary obligation to taxpayers to do so,” Torsella noted.

Supporting Torsella’s move, Standard & Poor’s research finds that in the most recent 10-year period, more than 87% of actively managed US stock funds did not perform better than a broad market index. During this same period, most international stock funds did not beat the market either.

Another advocate for passive investing is Warren Buffett. He has asked investors to take this route, considering that even many institutional investors and wealthy people have paid out billions of dollars in recent years to hedge funds and other money managers that charge high rates for substandard performance.

According to Buffett, “The bottom line: When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients. Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds.”


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Old 04-28-2017, 07:17 PM
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CALIFORNIA

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-...146516764.html

Quote:
Unions kill bill to cut cost-of-living increases for CalPERS pensions

Public employee unions presented a united front on Monday against a bill by Sen. John Moorlach that aimed to close California’s pension funding gap by eliminating cost-of-living increases and asking local governments to chip in a greater share of their revenue toward retirements.

Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, shaped his Senate Bill 32 using the language of climate change laws the Legislature adopted to set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gasses. Last year’s SB 32, for instance, sought to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels between now and 2030.

Moorlach’s pension bill similarly would demand that CalPERS and CalSTRS reduce their unfunded liability to 1980 levels by 2030. Today, both pension systems have about 64 percent of the assets they’d need to pay all of the benefits they owe.

“The unfunded liabilities are killing us. The math is brutal,” said Dan Pellissier, president of an advocacy group called California Pension Reform.

Moorlach’s bill would have temporarily banned cost-of-living increases that pensioners receive, required local governments to increase their pension contribution rates by 10 percent and compelled public employers to offer 401(k) style defined contribution plans to supplement pensions.

The bill failed by a 3-2 vote in the Senate’s Public Employment and Retirement Committee after a parade of union representatives voiced opposition to it.

“This is really an attack on women,” said Jennifer Baker, a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association. She noted that some 72 percent of the state’s retired teachers are women.

She continued, “This is not going to incentivize more people to want to become teachers.”

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Old 04-30-2017, 04:18 PM
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HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT

http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2017/...o-with-a-park/

Quote:
What does a pension fund do with a park?

As part of the effort to close a $48.5 million deficit in Hartford’s 2017 budget, the city transferred ownership of Batterson Park in Farmington to the city’s pension fund.
The move “offset $5 million of the required pension contribution,” according to an April 18 press release from the mayor’s office.
The park, which is located in Farmington, was closed in 2016 “due to budget constraints,” according to Tom Baptist, Harford’s superintendent of public works.
While it was owned and operated by Hartford, Batterson Park was only open to the public during the summer on weekends and holidays. Parking was free and the admission charge for adults was $3 for a Hartford resident and $5 for an adult non-resident. The charge for children ranged from $1 to $2.

Hartford’s municipal employee pension fund assumes a 7.75 percent rate of return. This equals a yearly return $387,500 per year for the $5 million which normally would have been paid into the fund. This translates to 77,500 non-Hartford adult visitors to Batterson Park per year.
The park also employs lifeguards during the summer and requires yearly maintenance. During 2015, the city paid $28,500 for lifeguard services at the park and an additional $10,000 for the Department of Public Works to “haul refuse, rake the beach, replenish beach sand and other maintenance functions,” according to figures provided by Baptist.
Hartford faces increasing pressure due to mounting deficits and unfunded pension liabilities. According to the study Connecticut’s Broken Cities, Hartford’s pension fund faces a $310 million shortfall.
Study author, Stephen Eide, labelled the pension park giveaway and the sale of a Hartford parking garage as “one-shot budget fixes” in an op-ed with the Wall Street Journal.
Bronin recently released his 2018 budget which contains a deficit of $49 million. Despite budgeting for $16 million in labor concessions, the mayor has only secured $4 million from the Hartford firefighters union.
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Old 04-30-2017, 04:24 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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DALLAS, TEXAS
POLICE AND FIRE

http://www.crossroadstoday.com/story...ing-a-solution

Quote:
DPD Pension Crisis: Cops and firefighters rally, demanding a solution
Posted: Apr 28, 2017 11:03 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 28, 2017 11:03 AM EDT
Janan Buisier
Dallas, TX -- Dallas police officers and firefighters are demanding a permanent solution to the pension fund crisis. There are reports the fund could go to bust in 10 years unless something changes.

But there's a more urgent problem -- the union says Dallas has lost about 700 cops and firefighters in the last year and a half to other cities with better pay and pension systems.

So, hundreds took to the streets of Dallas Wednesday and marched to Dallas City Hall with their families to protest Mayor Rawlings' stance on a bill that could save the fund.

In a letter to taxpayers, the mayor called the bill "unnecessarily expensive" and would amount to a huge taxpayer bailout.

Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata said, "the cold - hard truth Mayor Rawlings is intentionally misleading Dallas residents regarding the police and fire pension, in attempt to kill this pension bill."

Well, things don't look too promising for the Dallas Police Department. Hundreds of police boots and shoes were displayed outside City Hall to represent the number of officers who have left.

According to DPD Chief David Pughes, the department currently has a little over 3,000 officers, which is considered to be the smallest force the city has seen in 10 years.

We just hope the city can find a solution that works for Dallas residents and the people who put their lives on the line to protect them.

KDAF

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

http://www.wjbdradio.com/local-news/...plan-he-vetoed

Quote:
Legislature Sends Rauner Same Chicago Pension Plan He Vetoed

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois General Assembly has sent Gov. Bruce Rauner a plan to shore up Chicago pensions.

The House voted 63-45 Thursday to allow the city to use increases in water- and sewer service rates to triple contributions to retirement programs covering municipal workers and laborers. Firefighters' and police pensions are separate.

It's identical to legislation the Republican governor vetoed in March. Rauner called it combatting "drought with a drop of rain."

The legislation he voted was approved by a General Assembly which ended in January. So lawmakers had to produce fresh legislation to try again.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says the change would keep the pension accounts solvent. Otherwise, both would be bankrupt by 2027.

It also requires greater contributions from new employees.

The bill is SB14

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