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  #1241  
Old 09-11-2017, 07:48 PM
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KENTUCKY

http://www.kentucky.com/news/politic...170760197.html

Quote:
Kentucky isn’t the only state with a pension crisis. Here’s how others coped.

In New Jersey they turned to the state lottery. In Illinois they raised taxes. In South Dakota they lowered their cost-of-living adjustments.

Kentucky has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the country, but it isn’t alone. Following the Great Recession, about 75 percent of state pension funds have undergone some kind of reform since 2009, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

But the most common reforms — switching to a hybrid retirement plan, freezing cost-of-living adjustments and increasing employee contributions — have already happened in Kentucky. Those efforts, though, have done little to help a funding crisis that directly affects about 14 percent of Kentuckians.

“We’ve done pension reform and we still are where we are because none of it was designed to affect the unfunded liability,” the more than $37 billion that Kentucky eventually owes public employees but hasn’t set aside, said Jason Bailey, executive director of the liberal-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.
….
Hybrid pension plans

Both before and after the recession, several states began switching to hybrid retirement plans, where employees can choose between a 401(k) investment account or a pension, or have a little bit of both.

Kentucky was one of those states. In 2013, the legislature passed pension reform that moved new hires to a cash-balance pension plan, in which participants are promised a certain benefit at retirement but that benefit is stated as a 401(k)-style account balance rather than a monthly income stream.

Making such changes for future hires is easier politically and will help reduce costs several decades later, but it does little to address the cost of pensions already promised to Kentucky’s public workers.

“You can always screw new employees because they don’t exist,” Bailey said.

Kentucky’s hybrid pension plan, though, won’t save enough money to salvage the state’s financially-strapped pension funds, according to PFM, the consultant group hired by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration to recommend changes to the pension systems. Instead, PFM is encouraging lawmakers to freeze the pension plans of most state workers and switch them to a 401(k) investment account that comes with a defined contribution by the state, not a defined monthly benefit.
…..
Changing the rules

The most obvious way to cut Kentucky’s unfunded liability quickly without a huge influx of cash is to change the pension rules for current workers and retirees.

The most common way states have done that is to raise the amount employees must contribute to the pension system.

Kentucky has already done that, too — kind of.

In 2008, the state raised the contribution rate for new hires in state and local government to 6 percent of their salary, which is the national average. But those newer employees are still only contributing 5 percent of their paycheck to the pension system, just like their more senior colleagues. The other 1 percent goes to health care.

That means state workers still contribute a little less than the national average to the pension system, and the average is likely to increase. The Center for Retirement Research projects that the national average for employee contributions into pension systems will soon be 7 percent.

…..
Clawing back benefits

Perhaps the most significant way to decrease the unfunded liability is to “claw back” benefits already granted to existing retirees.

A state’s ability to do this, though, depends entirely on the strength of laws that protect worker benefits, according to the Center for Retirement Research. In Kentucky, most benefits are protected by an “inviolable contract,” making it difficult legally for the legislature to scale back benefits that were promised when a worker was hired.

One benefit that appears to have fewer protections under the law is cost of living adjustments — the annual pay raise given to many retirees to make up for inflation. These adjustments have become a target for state legislatures.
…..
Paying up

With few politically-feasible options to deal with the unfunded liability, most states have been forced to find more money to pay down their obligations.

In Kentucky, state budget director John Chilton said this week that lawmakers will have to find $1 billion more in the budget to put toward the pension system next year.

Earlier this year, New Jersey, a state with a pension crisis rivaling Kentucky’s, dealt with their unfunded liability by shifting $1 billion in lottery money to help fund its ailing state worker pension fund.

Kentucky would have a hard time copying New Jersey. The state gets about $240 million annually from lottery proceeds, but that money is already earmarked for popular college scholarship programs.

Illinois, which faces more than $100 billion in unfunded liability, chose to address its financial woes by raising the state’s income tax.

Bailey recommends this route for Kentucky lawmakers. He has some support from Democrats in the legislature, but Gov. Matt Bevin and Republican leaders have said repeatedly they oppose raising taxes to pay for state pensions.
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  #1242  
Old 09-11-2017, 07:54 PM
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MATTOON, ILLINOIS

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/matto...ension-crisis/

Quote:
MATTOON FORCED TO CUT AMBULANCE SERVICES TO PAY FOR GROWING PENSION CRISIS

Communities across Illinois are being forced to cut local services and raise taxes to afford their pension payments, putting residents who rely on local government services at risk because of the inherent failures of defined-benefit plans.

The city of Mattoon, Illinois, is struggling with a public safety pension crisis. Its local police and fire pensions are less than half funded. And the city’s pension costs – which have nearly doubled over the past decade – are overwhelming local taxpayers’ ability to pay for them.

The city’s vital services are suffering as a result. Most recently, Mattoon was forced cut its fire department’s ambulance services to help make its annual pension payments.

And unfortunately, Mattoon isn’t alone. It’s just one Illinois community being forced to cut services in the face of ballooning pension costs.

Mattoon forced to cut local services

On July 18, the Mattoon City Council voted to end its public fire ambulance services in order to free up funds for its fire and police pensions.

In 2015, the city had to contribute nearly $3 million to its local pension funds, double what it had to contribute a decade ago.

But more taxpayer dollars have done little to stop Mattoon’s pension crisis from growing. The city’s unfunded pension debts have more than doubled over the decade, to nearly $42 million dollars in 2015 from $21 million in 2005.


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  #1243  
Old 09-11-2017, 07:55 PM
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PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/...lagging-behind

Quote:
Pittsburgh pension funds hit 'milestone' after years of lagging behind

Pittsburgh's employee pension funds are growing again thanks to an uptick in financial markets, the Comprehensive Municipal Trust Fund board reported Wednesday.

The city's invested portfolio for police officers, firefighters and municipal workers earned 12.2 percent during the 12 months ending in July, according to the board's executive director, Paul Leger, who also serves as Pittsburgh's finance director.

Returns from market investments had been flat over the past two years.

Leger said the funds totaled $723 million. That includes $297.5 million, the estimated value of future parking tax revenue pledged over 30 years to the pension funds.

Pittsburgh has 60 percent of the money needed for $1.2 billion in pension obligations for current and future retirees, Leger said.

“This is really a major milestone to hit 60 (percent),” he said.

The pensions funds last reached the 60 percent funded range in 2013, the year before Mayor Bill Peduto took office.

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Old 09-11-2017, 08:01 PM
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SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

http://californiapolicycenter.org/pe...an-jose-model/

Quote:
Pension Reform – The San Jose Model
September 6, 2017/by Ed Ring
Pension reform in San Jose began in June 2012 when voters, by a margin of 69% to 31%, approved Measure B. Despite overwhelming support from voters, however, this vote triggered a cascade of union funded lawsuits which by 2015 had overturned several of the key provisions of the reform measure. Finally, in August 2015, the San Jose city council passed a compromise resolution that replaced Measure B with a scaled down reform; this was approved by voters in November 2016.

The provisions of this new pension reform measure should be of keen interest to local reformers everywhere in California, because they survived relentless attacks in court. While these reforms may not prove sufficient to completely solve the challenge to adequately fund pension benefits for city workers in San Jose, they are nonetheless significant. San Jose’s current unfunded pension liability now stands at just over $3.0 billion. These reforms are estimated to save $1.7 billion over the next ten years. Here are highlights:

HIGHLIGHTS OF SAN JOSE’S 2016 PENSION REFORM

1 – Voter approval required from now on:
Any retirement benefit – including pensions and retirement healthcare – cannot be enhanced as the result of negotiations between the city council and union leadership, unless those enhancements are first approved by voters.

2 – New employees will be subject to a reformed package of retirement benefits:
Employees hired after the following dates (Police, 8/04/2013; Fire, 1/02/2015; Misc., 9/30/2012) shall be deemed “Tier II” employees, with the following retirement benefits:

Cost sharing: The city shall not pay more than 50% of the normal and unfunded payments due the pension system; this will be phased in by increasing the employee share of the unfunded payment at a rate of 0.33% of additional withholding of their pay per year.

Age of eligibility: Police and firefighters shall be eligible for retirement benefits at age 57; miscellaneous employees at age 62.

Cost of living adjustments: annual COLA increases to pensions shall be limited to the lessor of the CPI index or between 2.0% and 1.25%.

Pension eligible compensation: Final compensation for purposes of calculating the pension shall be based on the average of the final three years of work, and (with some exceptions for police and firefighters) be limited to base pay only.

Cap on pension benefit: Police and fire retiree pensions are capped at 80% of pension eligible salary, for miscellaneous employees the cap is 70% of pension eligible salary.

.....
4 – “Supplemental Payments” discontinued:
Prior to this reform, whenever investment returns in any given year exceeded the target percentage, supplemental payments were made to retirees. This practice took place even when the pension system was carrying a significant unfunded liability. This new provision even bars supplemental payments if the fund eventually exceeds 100% funding, in order to take into account the possibility that subsequent annual returns may again fall short of projections.

....
6 – Retirement contributions fixed:
Similar in intent to item #4, even if the pension system becomes more than 100% funded, there will be no lowering of the required employee contributions to the fund via payroll withholding – again, to take into account the possibility that subsequent annual returns may again fall short of projections.

7 – No retroactive benefits enhancements:
If retirement benefits are approved by voters, they are only to apply to work performed subsequent to the date of approval. If an employee transfers into a new job with the city that offers better retirement benefits than the job they vacated, these enhancements only apply to their work subsequent to their transfer.
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  #1245  
Old 09-11-2017, 08:03 PM
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DALLAS, TEXAS
POLICE AND FIRE

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/c...allenges-ahead

Quote:
Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board member Frederick 'Shad' Rowe sees challenges ahead

Mayor Mike Rawlings selected six people to sit on a newly reconstituted Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board, including Dallas investor Frederick E. "Shad" Rowe, a former chairman of the Texas Pension Review Board.

.....
What do you think the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has to do to restore credibility and public trust?
This board will hopefully help. It has fair, honest and objective people with no agenda other than to help. The first step will be to figure out what happened and then develop a reasonable and transparent plan. I suspect the [rescue plan] is a stopgap. I believe it is a work in progress, but this is something I cannot accurately answer right now.
A pension is no different from an individual handling his or her retirement. It really has the same issues as a defined benefit plan for everyone. If investments don't earn a satisfactory return, or you stop paying into the plan, or you have more going out than coming in, or you live too long, you will run out of money.

.....
What changes would you recommend to the pension system operations?
I would suggest fewer "alternative" investments like vineyards, raw land, big houses in Hawaii — assets without readily available quotes. I would probably not be interested in holding those for very long.
In the past, you have warned that public pension debt is a ticking time bomb for cities and states. Overall, have things become better or worse?
Worse. It is a huge problem. It is the worst kind of problem because it gets much worse as time passes. Einstein is credited with calling compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. In this case, compound interest works against you. It is a nightmare.

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  #1246  
Old 09-11-2017, 08:10 PM
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CONNECTICUT

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/0...on-compromise/

Quote:
Malloy pitches pension compromise
JACOB STERN SEP 07, 2017
STAFF REPORTER
In an effort to jump-start state lawmakers’ stalled budget negotiations, Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday offered a major compromise, cutting in half his proposed shift of teacher pension costs from states to municipalities.
Connecticut has now missed its July 1 budget deadline by more than two months, making it one of just two states without a budget for fiscal year 2018. Even after the ratification in late August of a $1.5 billion state-employee concessions deal negotiated by Malloy, the state faces a projected $1.6 billion deficit in fiscal year 2018. Over the next two fiscal years, that number will rise to $3.5 billion.
The governor’s original budget would have required cities and towns to pay $400 million of teachers’ $1.2 billion annual pension bill, which, as of now, falls entirely on the state. Under Malloy’s new plan, municipalities would pay just $200 million, with the remaining $1 billion coming out of state coffers. Malloy told the CT Mirror on Tuesday that he hopes the compromise dispels the notion that he has been inflexible during the negotiations.

....
The debate over who should foot the teacher pension bill is part of a broader dispute over how the state and municipalities should share the fiscal burden. During negotiations, the debate pits an overwhelming majority of lawmakers from both parties against the Malloy administration.
Representative Dave Yaccarino, R-North Haven, said Republicans would like to see municipalities’ portion of the teacher pension bill reduced to zero.
“I don’t agree with any of that,” he said. “I don’t agree with that at all mainly because that’s not solving state budget issues. It’s just a temporary fix.”
Yaccarino added that Republicans are united against the proposal. He also estimated that 95 percent of Democrats are opposed.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:11 PM
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MARSHALL COUNTY, ILLINOIS

http://www.eastpeoriatimescourier.co...-pension-costs

Quote:
Marshall County may tax levy for pension costs



LACON — Marshall County officials are anticipating a 12.7 percent hike in the tax levy for 2018, partly to begin addressing a huge unfunded liability in a pension plan for some elected officials.

The levy would increase from about $2.78 million this year to $3.12 million in 2018 under a preliminary budget approved by the County Board Finance Committee last week.

“This is a pretty healthy tax increase,” noted member Brad Lindstrom.

Any levy increase would affect only the county portion of a homeowner’s property tax bill, not the total amount. The county tax rate is only about $1 per $100 assessed value, and the county share of the tax is typically only about 10 percent of the total.

Much of the increase would stem from payments to the Elected County Officials retirement program that supplements the basic Illinois Municipal Retirement that covers many non-elected county employees.

The county costs of the retirement plan have accelerated much faster than the basic state retirement fund or separate Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Personnel Plan and have contributed to an unfunded liability that is approaching $4 million, officials said.


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Old 09-11-2017, 08:37 PM
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KENTUCKY

this one will be a mega-post -- there's a lot of Kentucky pension stuff going on now b/c of a special legislative session, etc.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news...s=&from=global

Quote:
IRS departure, pension costs have Covington looking at tax hike

When the property tax bills go out this month, Covington homeowners might notice the effect of the state pension problem. And they might notice the effect of the Internal Revenue Service's decision to close its Covington facility.

Those are two reasons cited by Covington city officials why they're considering raising the property tax.

The City Commission called a special meeting for 5:15 p.m. Thursday to vote on raising the rate to bring in 4 percent more revenue than the previous year, estimated to bring in $340,000 more.

That means for a $100,000 house, the owner would pay $14 more, with the rate going from $313 to $327.

It's the maximum increase allowed by state law not subject to a recall petition by voters.

.....
The state pension problem also looms large in Covington's future. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to call a special session in October to address the state's $40 billion pension debt. Johnston and other city officials, based on some estimates, fear the city's pension costs might rise by more than $2 million a year.

That, combined with the IRS leaving, would punch a $4 million hole in Covington's budget, Johnston said.

Mayor Joe Meyer said he's undecided on whether to raise the property tax but warned the city would face budget cuts if the tax rate isn't increased.


http://www.the-messenger.com/opinion...df9b74275.html

Quote:
Beshear's attitude toward pension crisis belies the facts


Anyone notice the amount of press coverage The Messenger has devoted lately to Kentucky state pensions? And rightly so! Reported underfunding (that's debt!) has reached between $30 billion to $40 billion dollars, depending on the source. To put that into perspective, the entire state budget for 2017 is $34 billion dollars! While some may point out that Kentucky's "debt" is not the highest, analysts rate ours at No. 50, dead last among states in fiscal ability to resolve the problem. I wonder how many Big K T-shirts that will sell?

The current administration must now begin to determine how the state can dig itself out of the hole that previous administrations have dumped in their lap -- certainly not an enviable task. Several rightly forewarn that many subsequent decisions could be painful and, probably, controversial (translation: let the taxpayer beware!). Mr. Fletcher offers no advice, however, if they just read ex-Gov. Beshear's book, "People Over Politics" (The Messenger, Aug. 29), they will find a simple solution, i.e. "common sense" and "nonpartisanship." Why hasn't anyone else thought of this?

So, how did Kentucky arrive at this point? Mr. Beshear shrugs it off in saying "it took over two decades to get into such a dilemma." However, records show that, in 2002, the two largest programs, Non-Hazardous and Teachers were funded at 100 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Records also show from 2006 to 2016, there was negative cash flow of $100 million from the system every year except 2011 (when the state borrowed $465 million to slow the flow) and debt rose from $9 billion to $30+ billion! I'm sure Mr. Beshear would not like to be reminded that eight of those years were under his watch!

Perusing the consultant's report (available online), you find a relentless drain of system assets kicked into high gear during Mr. Beshear's years steering the ship. I wonder if he was putting "People over Politics" as he and his elected and appointed cronies continued the pillaging of the pension system through gaming the backloading provisions (47 percent of the debt), reducing state contributions to the system to "redistribute" funds to pay for pet projects (15 percent) and pursuing ever-riskier investments in order to cover under-performing investment decisions (33 percent). So much for the "common sense" theory!

http://www.courier-journal.com/story...elp/632700001/

Quote:
Kentucky Pension Crisis: Benefit counselors are swamped but online help is available

With last week's release of recommendations by PFM Consulting Group on how to solve Kentucky's pension crisis, questions about the Kentucky Retirement Systems benefits have been on the rise.

KRS posted on Facebook Thursday: "We understand that our members would like to come to Frankfort to meet with a retirement benefits counselor face to face. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing discussion about potential pension changes, our appointment availability is extremely limited."
http://weku.fm/post/proposed-pension...-worker-exodus

Quote:
Proposed Pension Changes Bring Fears Of State Worker Exodus

More state workers retired last month than the year before amid concerns that the legislature and Gov. Matt Bevin will make changes to state retirement plans.

David Smith, executive director for the Kentucky Association of State Employees, said state workers have been retiring after consultants hired by the state recommended drastic changes to the pension systems.


“There are folks that are saying you know what, I don’t care, I’m going to lock in my retirement now and get out while I can and fight it as a retiree if they go and change the retiree benefits,” he said.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that there was a 20 percent jump in state worker retirements last month.

Last week, a consulting group recommended that the state claw back cost-of-living raises given to state pensioners, raise the retirement age and ban workers from saving up sick days to boost their benefits.

“Who are they going to replace them with if they truly offer up what they’re proposing or what was proposed? Who is going to want to work for state government? I wouldn’t,” Smith said.


http://www.courier-journal.com/story...ely/633578001/

Quote:
Kentucky pension crisis: Bevin, top legislators reject reversing cost of living adjustments

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The controversial recommendation of the state's pension consultant – to roll back benefits of current retirees enhanced over the years by cost of living adjustments – appears to be dead.

"Nobody, neither myself nor anyone in the legislature, thinks that we should be clawing back pay adjustments – COLAs as they are called – from retirees. It makes no sense," Gov. Matt Bevin said in an interview on WHAS Radio's Leland Conway program Wednesday morning.

House Speaker Jeff Hoover, a Jamestown Republican told reporters in Frankfort later Wednesday of the recommendation, "It’s highly unlikely that that’s going to take place."

And Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican who spoke to reporters at an impromptu news conference with Hoover, said, "That's a recommendation of PFM. And they do not have a seat" in the Kentucky General Assembly.

http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/ne...20a355b12.html

Quote:
Pension legislation will not be based solely on consultant's recommendations, Bowen said

State and county employees who are concerned about how coming changes to the state's pension systems will affect them will have time to make informed decisions before the changes become law, state Sen. Joe Bowen told members of the Rotary Club of Owensboro on Wednesday.

Bowen, an Owensboro Republican and co-chairman of the state Public Pension Oversight Board, said any changes that legislators make to the public employee, teacher and state trooper retirement systems won't go into effect immediately upon passage. After the meeting, Bowen said the date the changes become law will likely be "closer to July 1 than Jan. 1."

http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/ne...e713bd292.html

Quote:
County likely to approve pension divorce resolution

A majority of Daviess Fiscal Court members say they approve separating the County Employees Retirement System from Kentucky's sinking pension authority.

Commissioners and Judge-Executive Al Mattingly are expected to pass a resolution on Thursday, Sept. 7, that would throw the county's support behind any such effort, joining at least three dozen other local governments in the commonwealth who say action is needed to protect one of the few remaining mostly-funded Kentucky Retirement Systems accounts.

http://www.courier-journal.com/story...ase/643032001/

Quote:
Kentucky pension crisis: Local governments face 50 to 60% increase in pension costs

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Pension costs could jump 50 to 60 percent next year for local governments across the state, according to a letter sent to them Thursday by state Budget Director John Chilton.

To pay its share, Louisville Metro Government's cost of its employees' pensions would jump from $76.5 million this year to $120 million next year. For Jefferson County Public Schools, the pension tab for non-teachers would go from $36.4 million this year to $54.8 million.

Chilton's letter notified hundreds of local government employers across the commonwealth of the specific dollar amount of increased pension costs each can expect when their new fiscal year begins next July 1.

Chilton's letter noted that local governments are confronting the same dilemma faced by state government in addressing the pension crisis. "The obvious problem is most employers cannot afford the additional pension contributions, ..." Chilton wrote. "The pension plans are in a crisis but so are employer budgets."

The increased cost to all local governments combined would be about $345.5 million next year, the letter says.

The letter went to local government employers who have employees in the County Employees Retirement Systems, or CERS, pension plans. JCPS is affected because, while its teachers are in the separate Teachers' Retirement System, its many non-teaching employees like cooks and bus drivers are in the CERS plans.


http://www.courier-journal.com/story...vin/640952001/

Quote:
Legalize pot and gambling to fund Kentucky's pensions? 'Not going to happen,' Bevin says


Correction: An original version of this story misstated who suggested legalizing casino gambling and marijuana in Kentucky. It has been updated to reflect WHAS' Leland Conway asked Gov. Matt Bevin about those two options for gaining extra state revenue.

Kentucky has a $40 billion pension problem, and legalizing weed or casino gambling could help solve it.

But not while Matt Bevin is the state's governor.

Last week, PFM Group of Philadelphia, the firm studying Kentucky's pension crisis, reported a series of recommendations for the state to get its pension debt under control. The huge cost to resolve the pension crisis has some legislators and others suggesting ways to raise state revenue without raising taxes-- such as legalizing casino gambling and marijuana.

The latest on pensions: Bevin, top legislators reject reversing cost of living adjustments

In an interview with WHAS Radio, Leland Conway asked Bevin if legalizing gambling and weed were on the table. Bevin said he doesn't believe the benefits of legalizing expanded gambling would offset "the societal costs."

When asked about legalizing marijuana, he said following Colorado's lead "is not going to happen while I'm governor."

http://wkuherald.com/news/caboni-add...a064809c1.html

Quote:
Caboni addresses potential changes to pension system, effects on WKU

With the crisis of Kentucky's pensions ever looming, President Timothy Caboni said WKU is looking at the potential implications changes to the pension system may have on current and future employees.

In an email, sent to faculty and staff, Caboni said "we must recognize some change is likely inevitable, and it is better for us to engage proactively in a conversation with policy-makers as they wrestle with these very complex issues rather than waiting for them to make their decisions."

"To that end, representatives from the six public universities and the KCTCS system whose employees are impacted by changes to the pension systems have been working on a set of principles that we agree are in the best interests of our institutions and our employees," Caboni said. "The collective position advocates for no change for current employees."

According to the email, this may mean that all new hires will be using a "403(b) type defined contribution plan, which is consistent with what many public universities...currently offer."

http://www.dailyindependent.com/news...ac64b320c.html

Quote:
Educators frustrated with potential pension reforms

FRANKFORT No one expected teachers to enthusiastically embrace recommendations to reform their pension system an outside consulting group, but the intensity of their unhappiness may have surprised some lawmakers and Gov. Matt Bevin.

“They are livid,” said Regina Huff, who is a special education teacher in the Whitley County schools and a Republican state representative who will have to vote on pension reform in a proposed special session.

Huff’s colleagues also aren’t pleased with comments Bevin made in a Facebook video criticizing teachers who might choose to retire before changes to their retirement benefits can be enacted as selfish.

Huff said teachers see those comments as “degrading and hurtful” and they “just added to the frustrations” of teachers, many of whom are considering retirement.

One in five of Kentucky’s public schoolteachers have accrued the necessary number of years for full retirement benefits, according to Beau Barnes, deputy executive secretary and general counsel for the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System.

Barnes said KTRS received 622 visits in August from teachers considering retirement. Last August, the number was 525.

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SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/som...aise-1.2240724

Quote:
Some Scranton retirees to get pension raise

Scranton must pay raises on a small portion of the pensions of certain retired police officers and firefighters who retired under a buyout program offered in 1989, a labor arbitrator ruled.

The ruling will impact only a handful of retirees. The exact amount to be paid has not yet been calculated, but the payout is expected to be small, said Ned Abrahamsen, the city’s labor counsel.

The case stems from an incentive offered to police officers who retired between March 1, 1989, and April 30, 1989. The officers were awarded pensions of 60 percent of their final salary, as opposed to the normal 50 percent. Firefighters are entitled to the same benefits.

Under the agreement, the pension fund pays the regular retirement benefit. The other 10 percent comes directly from the city’s general fund.

Over the years, retirees received cost-of-living increases. In 2014, the city halted the increases because the pension funds are financially unsound. The police and fire departments challenged that in court, but it was upheld earlier this year.

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Old 09-12-2017, 06:10 AM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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CONNECTICUT

http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2017/...ing-to-survey/

Quote:
Business owners overwhelmingly want state pension reform, according to survey


A survey by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association shows that business owners want Connecticut to reform its state retirement benefits by a wide margin.
Of the business owners surveyed, 91 percent want reforms to Connecticut’s state pension system, which includes eliminating overtime from pension calculations and moving employees into a 401(k) style defined contribution plan.
Such reforms could lower pension costs in the future and prevent further tax increases and budget stalemates.
But the possibility for reforms to the state employee retirement system were delayed when the state legislature narrowly approved a $1.5 billion concessions deal with state union leaders on July 31st. Under the terms of the concessions deal negotiated by Gov. Dannel Malloy, the retirement benefits contract is extended until 2027, making it a 30 year contract.

....
Connecticut’s pension plans remain woefully underfunded, despite the state contributing the actuarially required payment for the past six years. During that time, unfunded pension obligations have actually increased, leaving Connecticut’s pension system for both state employees and teachers underfunded by $34.8 billion, according to official estimates.
Pension payments – which, along with debt service and retiree healthcare, are known as “fixed costs” – are one of the fastest growing state government expenses and threatens to put more pressure on future state budgets.
The cost of those underfunded pensions and retiree healthcare has grown more than the 2011 and 2015 tax increases combined, according to Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes.
This year, Connecticut will pay $1.5 billion toward the state employee retirement system and an additional $1.9 billion toward the teachers retirement system.
The annual state payment into SERS will grow to $2.2 billion by 2027 after the state extended the unfunded pension payments until 2046. The cost of teacher pensions could to grow to more than $6 billion by 2032, if the system is not reformed in some way.
According to a study on the Connecticut state employee retirement system, moving all new hires to a defined contribution plan would save $100 million over ten years but its true value would lie in reducing Connecticut’s long-standing liabilities and make the pension system more solvent.

Connecticut is one of only four states which set state employee retirement benefits through collective bargaining rather than through state statute.
Unlike state employees, teacher pensions are set in statute and can be reformed through legislative action, although there has yet been little interest from lawmakers to make changes.
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