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  #1011  
Old 05-19-2019, 11:13 AM
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NEW JERSEY

https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2...th-an-example/

Quote:
S3753 With an Example

Spoiler:
S3753 would add a cash balance component to the Defined Benefit pensions for some teachers and members of PERS and the text is out. Here is the summary and my example of how it would impact the benefit of a new participant.


This bill makes various changes to the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund. All the changes in the bill apply only to public employees who become members of the PERS or TPAF on or after July 1, 2020 or who have been members of the PERS or TPAF for less than five years as of that date.

Under the bill, these employees will not be eligible for service retirement until they are at least 67 years of age. An employee will 31be required to have at least 30 years of service credit to be eligible to retire before 67 years of age, but the employee’s pension will be reduced by 3 percent per year for each year that the employee is under 67 years of age.

The bill also changes the amortization period for the unfunded 36liability of the PERS and the TPAF, beginning July 1, 2023.

In addition, these employees will be members of the new cash balance plans to be established, one in the PERS and one in the TPAF.When the annual salary of these employees exceeds $40,000, the employee will be enrolled in the cash balance plan and the employee’s mandatory contribution as a percentage of the salary amount that exceeds $40,000 will be deposited into the employee’s account in the cash balance plan.

An annual minimum interest credit of 4 percent annually will be 45added to the account. Also, a separate alternate interest credit will also be added to the account of each employee annually. The alternate interest credit will be 75 percent of the rate of return the asset investments for a fiscal year, as that rate of return is certified by the actuary in the actuarial valuation when the valuation is adopted by the board of trustees of the system or fund, as appropriate.

Assuming this data for a new participant:

Date of birth: 7/1/1983
Date of hire: 7/1/2020 (age 37)
Retirement date: 7/1/2050 (age 67)
Salary: $50,000 increased annually by 2%
Teacher contribution: 7.5% of all salary with contributions on salary over $40,000 going into the cash balance plan (note: only the participant makes contributions to the Cash Balance; nothing from taxpayers so far in the law outside of guaranteeing the interest credit).
Ignoring the alternate interest credit here is how how much this participant would accumulate under the Cash Balance part at retirement:



Annual Benefit based on total salary:

Average Salary: $87,062
Annual Benefit: $87,062 x 30 / 60 = $43,531
Annual Benefit capped at $40,000 salary: $40,000 x 30 / 60 = $20,000

Now we get to translating these annual benefits into lump sums by assuming an Annuity Factor of 12 which shows the participant winding up with $182,120 less (a 34% reduction):

$20,000 x 12 + $100,252 – $43,531 x 12 = ($182,120)

The Defined Benefit portion of the system will also lose $90,000 in member contributions ($2,028,404 x .075 – $62,130) which cuts the plan savings in half but still a maneuver that would cut the liability used to calculate the Normal Cost for this participant by 17%.


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  #1012  
Old 05-19-2019, 11:19 AM
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KENTUCKY

https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Pe...1.html?ref=851

Quote:
Pension discussions take center stage as Democratic candidates square off in debate

Spoiler:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A number of topics were covered during an hour-long debate on UK’s campus between Democratic candidates for Kentucky governor. Candidates spent a good amount of time discussing the economy and health care in the state, but no topic loomed larger than Kentucky’s beleaguered pension system.

Rocky Adkins cited 2013 reforms as making headway on the problem, stating, “Keep the reforms that we have in place. Any modifications or adjustments made need to be made with bipartisan support, stakeholders at the table."

Andy Beshear listed expanded gaming, medical marijuana, closing corporate tax loopholes and stopping some tax incentives as ways to create new revenue for pensions.

"A pension is a promise, and I was raised that when you make a promise you keep that promise. And folks, I'm the only candidate in this race that will actually give you specifics," said Beshear.

Adam Edelen said he'll make sure the pension system is run for the benefit of those getting them, saying, "The issue is that teachers paid their 13 percent every month in and they were failed by a Frankfort budget process that failed to do it the same."


Meanwhile, Geoff Young called for raising taxes on the rich to fund pensions.

"A great deal of structural change is not needed in the pension system. What we really have is a political problem. It has to be funded."

Candidates also all talked about the need to invest more money in public higher education, although there were some differences in the ways to pay for that.

The debate will be aired in full Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on the CW Lexington.


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  #1013  
Old 05-19-2019, 11:20 AM
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/chica...140000842.html

Quote:
Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund Provides $2.0 Billion Positive Impact to Illinois Economy

Spoiler:
CTPF Releases 2019 Economic Impact Statement

CHICAGO, May 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund (CTPF) today announced the release of its 2019 Economic Impact Statement. CTPF made $1.4 billion in direct payments to annuitants living in Illinois in 2018. Those payments had a $2.0 billion impact on the Illinois economy, supporting 15,000 jobs in the State. The Buck Stays Here: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Benefit Payments on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago is produced annually and details CTPF's impact on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. The report includes economic impact by legislative district and Chicago ward.

Jeff Blackwell, President, CTPF Board of Trustees
Jeff Blackwell, President, CTPF Board of Trustees
More
"This 2019 Economic Impact Statement quantifies the economic impact that CTPF has on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. We are proud to serve as an economic engine for the growth of our community and state," said Jeffery Blackwell, President, CTPF Board of Trustees. "Our members are active and important members of their individual communities, and this report helps illustrate the impact they make throughout Illinois."

The report found that 84 percent of CTPF's annuitants who collect a pension stay in the State of Illinois, with nearly half of that number continuing to call Chicago home. CTPF annuitants residing in Chicago are responsible for approximately $1.0 billion in total economic impact and support 7,640 jobs across the city.

The study used standard economic multipliers from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic impact of spending. Find a copy of the report at https://www.ctpf.org/sites/main/file..._vk3_final.pdf

About Jeffery Blackwell, President, CTPF Board of Trustees
Jeffery Blackwell serves as President of the CTPF Board of Trustees. Elected to represent Teachers in 2010, and re-elected in 2013 and 2016, he has chaired the Committee on Claims and Service Credits and the Policy Committee, and served on the Disability, Health Insurance, Investments, Pension Law and Administrative Rules, Communications, and Technology Committees. A 20-year veteran of the Chicago Public Schools, he currently works with students with special needs and established a student mentoring program. An active member and delegate of the Chicago Teachers Union, he has served on the Executive Board and Pension Committee, and as a delegate to the American Federation of Labor and Illinois Federation of Labor Conventions. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Science in Special Education, and a Master of Arts in General Administration from Chicago State University.

About CTPF
Established by the Illinois state legislature in 1895, the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund manages members' assets and administers benefits. The $11.1 billion pension fund serves more than 87,000 members and provides pension and health insurance benefits to more than 28,500 beneficiaries. A majority of CTPF annuitants (84%) live in Illinois. CTPF makes $1.4 billion in pension payments annually in Illinois which help generate $2.0 billion in total economic impact and support 15,000 jobs in the State.


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  #1014  
Old 05-19-2019, 02:08 PM
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CALIFORNIA
CALPERS

https://www.ai-cio.com/news/two-year...e-equity-head/

Quote:
After a Two-Year Search, CalPERS Finally Hires Private Equity Head
Greg Ruiz, who has family ties to the fund, will take over from interim Sarah Corr.
Spoiler:
The California Public Employee Retirement System concluded a two-year search at its Monday board meeting when Chief Investment Officer Ben Meng announced it had hired Greg Ruiz to lead the $360 billion pension organization’s private equity division.
Ruiz, a private equity lifer, previously worked at Palo Alto-based Altamont Capital Partners. He started at Goldman Sachs, later moving to FFL Partners. He is a principal at Altamont, specializing in consumer, business services, and tech investments.
Ruiz’s hiring is to replace Real Desrochers, who left the fund in 2017 to join Chinese bank CITIC. Sarah Corr had been filling the role in the interim since Desrochers’ departure.
Ruiz joins as CIO Meng is looking to accelerate the fund’s direct investment strategy for its private equity business. The pension plan wants to bring more staff in-house and harness more assets while cutting back on manager fees (it paid more than $700 million in fiscal 2018). At its March board meeting, the fund approved plans to create two private equity organizations, Innovation and Horizon, in which it would invest up to $20 billion.
Private equity is the fund’s best-performing portfolio, having returned 10.5% annually over the past 20 years. It currently makes up 7.6% of the fund’s assets, but Meng wants more, especially since it has shrunk from 2013, when the PE portfolio was about 12% of CalPERS’s assets.
Meng said Ruiz has a “keen understanding” of what successful private equity demands are. But there’s another affinity he has with CalPERS, other than his investment background.
He has family in the pension system.
At the plan’s Monday investment meeting, Meng said this fun fact further incentivizes Ruiz as “his commitment to our mission is already very strong.”
Meng added that coming to CalPERS is “just like coming home” for Ruiz, who the CIO said grew up “just down the street” in Davis.
Meng also praised Corr for her work as interim head.
“Her leadership and skills have been essential to the success [of the] asset class and I cannot thank her [enough] for all she has done,” he said.
Ruiz will start sometime in the summer. He was unable to be reached for comment.

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  #1015  
Old 05-19-2019, 02:10 PM
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NEW JERSEY

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/edu...s-13851719.php

Quote:
Top Democrat unveils plan to revamp pensions, merge schools

Spoiler:
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Traditional pensions would end for many New Jersey public employees who are new hires or have less than five years' experience under proposed legislation announced Friday by the state's top Democratic lawmaker.

The pension proposal was one of more than two dozen measures announced by Senate President Steve Sweeney, along with Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Democratic Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo and Republican Senate Budget Officer Steve Oroho.

Sweeney called the overall plan a "path to real, sustainable tax relief in a state with the highest property taxes, the second-largest unfunded pension liability, the second-worst credit rating, and the fifth-highest overall tax burden in the nation."

The legislation was developed by the bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup of economists, academics, government experts and legislators.

A measure would protect the current pension of teachers and non-uniformed state, county and municipal employees who have five or more years on the job. New hires and those with less than five years' experience would have a hybrid, defined benefit plan on their first $40,000 of income, and a plan more akin to a 401(k) on income above $40,000.

Another measure would shift all public employees from platinum-level health plans to gold-level plans, which would require them to pay more for their premiums. Payments for unused sick time would be capped at $7,500.

Under another measure, the mayor or chief executive of a municipality would be required to produce an independent cost-benefit analysis to submit with any application for a long-term property tax exemption, under another measure.

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Some measures push for more shared services. County school superintendents would be required to develop plans to merge elementary school districts into K-12 regional systems. They would also have to set up pilot programs to allow for the establishment of countywide school districts.

Another measure would give funding to counties to appoint coordinators to expand shared services.


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  #1016  
Old 05-19-2019, 02:11 PM
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GEORGIA

https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regi...7e4yt3fCNLrkK/

Quote:
Georgia pension fund delays bill for money it says universities owe

Spoiler:
The board that runs Georgia’s massive teacher pension program voted Wednesday to begin billing the University System of Georgia about $180 million extra a year, money that state auditors said colleges had owed for more than a decade but never paid.

The universities caught a break of sorts: The Teachers Retirement System board did not support a motion to begin billing right away. The board voted to start asking for the extra money in fiscal 2021, which begins July 1 of next year.

That means the system won’t have to make dramatic changes, such as making deep cuts in spending or adding new costs for students, before the General Assembly meets again in January.

The TRS board made the decision after more than an hour of sometimes heated discussion in which some members wanted to immediately right what they say was a wrong, and others said the panel was rushing to a decision without having all the facts.

“This is obviously an issue that people feel very differently about,” said Alvin Wilbanks, the chairman of the board and superintendent of Gwinnett County’s schools. “We are dealing with some serious business for both agencies.”


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The $78 billion retirement system is both a big deal to hundreds of thousands of teachers, university staffers and retirees in Georgia and a hot political topic at the General Assembly.

More than 128,000 retired teachers, professors and other university staff receive benefits, averaging about $37,000 a year. This year the state and local school systems put about $2.6 billion into the TRS and its companion, the Employees Retirement System, which provides benefits to retired state employees.

More than 200,000 current employees pay part of their checks into the TRS, with the rest of the fund’s money coming from taxpayers and investments.

Most private businesses long ago moved away from providing pensions, and rising costs have lawmakers pushing legislation to change benefits for future teachers and university staffers. That legislation hasn’t gone anywhere so far, but teacher groups fear any bad financial news could revive those efforts.

The vote Wednesday came four months after state auditors said Georgia’s universities had been shortchanging the teacher pension fund for a decade by about $600 million.

University System officials dispute the auditors’ conclusion and say the system pays more than its fair share. They said forcing the system to immediately make new payments — which the board considered — could have had serious consequences, including major spending cuts at colleges and higher tuition or fees for students.

The state Attorney General’s Office weighed in a few days before the meeting, saying the University System didn’t owe the money for this year and next, in part because the General Assembly didn’t allocate the money in the state budget.

At issue are payments auditors said the University System was supposed to make after it created something called an Optional Retirement Plan in 1990. Essentially, the plan allowed University System staffers to choose a 401(k) over a pension. In a 401(k), the employer and employee put money into a retirement investment fund, which the staffer can take with him when he leaves. In a pension, the employee who works for a certain number of years receives a regular payment from the TRS when he or she retires.

When the optional plan was created, state law required the University System to make payments into the TRS to fund the long-term liability of retirees.

The payments were to prevent the long-term pension costs of retirees from being borne by the state or school districts by balancing the ratio of active employees paying into the TRS and retirees drawing money out of the TRS, auditors said.

The University System made the payments through 2001, when the pension system had the money to meet its future responsibility to retirees, and the TRS — based on a report by its actuary — determined the payments were no longer required.

Auditors said the law requiring the payments was never repealed, and that they should have resumed in 2008, when the Great Recession started hammering investments in the retirement system, helping create another pension liability. But the TRS never began rebilling the University System.

Auditors — the state auditor is a member of the TRS board — said the University System requested funding for the payments from the General Assembly that were in turn never made to the retirement fund. University System officials say that is not true, and that, in fact, colleges pay more than their fair share into the fund.

Steve McCoy, a member of the retirement board and until recently the state’s treasurer, tried Wednesday to slow down the move to bill the University System, saying the report had not been vetted by the panel’s audit committee.

“There are more unanswered questions than answers,” McCoy said.

Delaying the bill until next year allows the University System to seek money from the General Assembly during the 2020 session to come up with the payment.

It also gives the General Assembly time to consider legislation, sponsored by House Retirement Chairman Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, to codify the University System’s position that it doesn’t owe the money in the first place.

Benton’s bill will be considered by the House Retirement Committee over the summer and likely be voted on during the 2020 session, which begins in January.


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  #1017  
Old 05-19-2019, 02:14 PM
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
PENSION MERGER

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/20...ty-hall-agenda
Quote:
Lightfoot outlines ambitious agenda for her first 100 days at City Hall
City finances top the mayor-elect’s list — and not simply because she must introduce her first city budget a little more than four months after taking office.
Spoiler:
The Chicago Bears take the field with a scripted series of plays for the opening drive.

The same could be said of Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot. She has a list of things she wants to get done in the first 100 days:

.....
• Prepare a budget that’s certain to include painful cuts and tax increases to satisfy a $277 million spike in pension payments and a budget shortfall more “dire” than she anticipated.

.....
Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown has said she’s been forthright about the shortfall Lightfoot is inheriting. But Brown has acknowledged in recent days that investment returns for the four city employee pension funds have fallen short of the projected, seven percent.

“We would beg to differ,” Lightfoot said.

“The number that we understand, based upon information that they provided, has not been socialized in the public, meaning it has not been disclosed. It has not been. If it had been, you would have reported it.”

Chicago taxpayers have already endured a $2 billion avalanche of tax increases under Emanuel just to begin to chip away at the $28 billion pension crisis.

Should they brace themselves for more of the same?

Lightfoot would say only: “We’re gonna have to make some hard choices. And we’re working on a range of possible solutions.”

Emanuel has proposed taxing retirement income, merging city pension funds and forging ahead with his stalled $10 billion pension borrowing to save beleaguered Chicago taxpayers “as much as $200 million” in his successor’s first budget.

Lightfoot rejected two out of three of those suggestions, but embraced the third: the pension fund merger.

“We have four pension funds. Every single one of them has a separate administrative function. Separate investment function,” she said.

“One of the things we’re gonna look at is pressing for consolidating these administrative functions that are duplicative and waste money that could be put back into the pension funds themselves.”



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  #1018  
Old 05-19-2019, 02:15 PM
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KENTUCKY

https://www.courier-journal.com/stor...on/3678778002/
Quote:
Bevin's pension bill is still short of votes as clock ticks down for special session

Spoiler:
FRANKFORT — With time beginning to run short, top legislative leaders said Wednesday that Gov. Matt Bevin is apparently still shy of the votes needed to pass his pension proposal.

The proposal is aimed at giving quasi-governmental agencies and regional universities relief from the big spike in pension costs they face July 1.

"As of right now, I don't believe that there is a comfort level that the necessary votes are there ..." House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, told reporters at an impromptu news conference with Senate President Robert Stivers. "There's ongoing discussions and efforts to try to get those votes."

Stivers, a Manchester Republican, said, "It's my understanding that they are closer. ... As to how close, you'd have to ask them."

Just before adjourning the regular session in March, lawmakers passed a bill to give the affected groups a one-year delay from paying the much higher pension costs, along with complicated options to allow the groups to pay off their liabilities and exit the troubled state pension plan.

But Bevin vetoed that bill for several reasons, including that it could lead to the suspending of pension benefits for current retirees if their former employer exited the plan but defaulted in making installment payments on its liabilities.

Check out: Judge rules Bevin wrongly withheld analysis of original pension proposal

When he vetoed the bill, Bevin said he would call a special session soon to pass an improved version. He later released a proposed bill but has delayed calling the session because that new version has not gotten enough support even though both the House and Senate are dominated by super majorities of his fellow Republicans.

It now has been more than five weeks since Bevin issued the veto, with about five weeks left for him to call the session in time for a bill to pass before the July 1 deadline.

Affected are six regional state universities and many agencies not directly administered within the executive branch: local health departments, regional mental health centers, rape crisis centers, spouse abuse shelters and child protection agencies. They face a hike of more than 75% in their pension costs July 1.

"Their budgets are going to be extremely affected negatively," said Osborne.

Some of the agencies, including some local health departments, say the higher costs will force them to shut their doors.

House Minority leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said Wednesday, "I think the governor is struggling to get the votes on his proposal. I think that's evident or we would already be in session."

While Osborne and Stivers said there are different reasons why lawmakers oppose the new version of the bill, Adkins said the main reason Democrats oppose it is a provision that would reduce pension benefits anticipated by most current employees of the affected groups that opt to exit the Kentucky retirement system.

He said that violates an "inviolable contract" in state law that he said guarantees a public employee the pension benefits he or she were promised when hired.

Adkins said the solution is to pass a bill that simply extends current pension costs of the group until the 2020 legislature can revisit the issue. Bevin said he opposes this as an example of "kicking the can down the road" and that a permanent solution is needed to solve the pension problem of these groups.


https://www.state-journal.com/2019/0...-pension-bill/
Quote:
Speaker: Gov. Bevin still lacks House votes for his pension bill

Spoiler:
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration hasn’t built enough “comfort level” among lawmakers to get his pension-relief proposal through the Republican-led House in a potential special legislative session, the House speaker said Wednesday.

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Speaker David Osborne said discussions continue in an effort to “try to get those votes” for Bevin’s plan, which aims to provide relief to some state-funded agencies struggling with surging retirement payments. The proposal would replace a pension measure vetoed by the governor in April after lawmakers had ended this year’s regular legislative session.

“As of right now, I don’t believe that there is a comfort level that the necessary votes are there to pass that particular proposal,” Osborne told reporters.

Bevin sent a letter to lawmakers last week urging them to “do the financially responsible thing” as he sought support for his struggling proposal. Members of Bevin’s team have met with lawmakers to try to build support for the measure in a special session the governor wants to call. Bevin is grappling with the politically treacherous issue as he seeks reelection this year.

Legislative leaders have said it’s up to Bevin to line up support for his pension proposal.

“It’s my understanding that they are closer to that point,” Senate President Robert Stivers said as he and Osborne spoke with reporters at the state Capitol.

Regional universities as well as county health departments, rape crisis centers and many other quasi-governmental agencies face ballooning pension costs on July 1 unless action is taken.

State leaders worry that inaction would strain the state’s quasi-public agencies and lead to some bankruptcies, elimination of staff and loss of critical services for Kentuckians.

Bevin’s plan has been endorsed by regional university presidents and picked up support from some representatives of local health departments, mental health centers and other agencies.

His proposal allows the agencies to stay with the Kentucky Retirement Systems at full cost, leave the retirement system by paying a lump sum equal to future projected benefits payments or buy their way out in installment payments over 30 years. It extends a freeze on pension costs for another year for the regional universities and quasi-public agencies.

Lawmakers are expressing various concerns about the proposal, the House and Senate leaders said.

“Some people are for it as it stands; some people don’t think that it goes far enough; other people think it’s too harsh,” Stivers said.

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said his fellow House Democrats don’t support Bevin’s proposal. Democrats believe the governor’s plan would violate the “inviolable contract,” language in state law that guarantees employees get the benefits promised when hired, he said.

Adkins called for a freeze on pension contribution rates for regional universities and quasi-public agencies while lawmakers work on a pension proposal next year. He called it a “common sense” approach that could be accomplished quickly in a special session.

“You give the relief where the relief is needed,” said Adkins, who is running for governor.

Bevin said in his recent letter to lawmakers that he opposes merely freezing those pension contribution rates, saying “the days of kicking the pension can down the road” are over.

Another question is how many votes Bevin’s proposal would need to pass in a special session.

Adkins said the measure would need at least 60 votes in the 100-member House because it’s an appropriations bill. Such bills require a higher threshold of support in each legislative chamber in odd-numbered years. Osborne said the bill would need 51 votes to pass.

Without getting 60 votes, the measure would likely draw a court challenge, Adkins said.


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Old 05-19-2019, 02:16 PM
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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article230391104.html

Quote:
Pensions or your neighborhoods? Sacramento City Hall fights over how to spend $40 million

Spoiler:
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg made his case Tuesday night for setting aside $40 million in public funding every year for the next five years to pay for projects and services he said will benefit the city’s disadvantaged neighborhoods.

But it’s far from clear whether the City Council is on board.

While three council members indicated they supported the mayor’s concept, two more – including the longest-tenured member of the City Council – said they opposed the idea because they are worried not enough money will be left for core city services and pension obligations.

Steinberg said last month he wanted to secure new revenue from the recently-passed Measure U sales tax expansion for “new city resources in economic development, disadvantaged neighborhoods, the creative economy and real pathways for young people.” Voters approved increasing the Measure U sales tax rate in November, and Steinberg raised concerns that money generated by the new tax rate – estimated at $50 million a year – would go to pensions and employee salaries.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Steinberg proposed that the city use a portion of the city’s budget — starting at $5 million in fiscal year 2020-21 and building to $25 million over five years — to serve as repayment for 30-year bonds that could be issued to pay for specific projects. Each project would have to be approved by the City Council. City Treasurer John Colville projected that annual payments of $25 million would produce upfront capital of more than $400 million.

The rest of the $40 million could be used for programs and services benefiting disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“I’m just trying to set a direction here so that money is not gobbled up by our obligations, our debt obligations, beginning in years two through five,” the mayor said.
Steinberg laid out his idea to set aside money for disadvantaged neighborhoods during his February State of the City speech in Meadowview, the neighborhood where unarmed Stephon Clark was fatally shot by police.


The money could be used to build an affordable housing trust fund, grants for minorities to start small businesses and to revitalize commercial corridors like Stockton and Del Paso boulevards, Steinberg has said. The projects would be vetted by the city’s Measure U Advisory Committee and another committee under the city manager’s office, then approved by the City Council, Steinberg said.

Steinberg suggested some of the $40 million he wants set aside to help neighborhoods come from new Measure U dollars, some from new revenue generated by a larger tax base as the economy expands and some from “efficiencies” that a consulting group would look for, such as leaving vacant positions in the city budget unfilled.

“We’ve got an ethic around here that we need to get back to where we were before the recession in terms of (city employee) positions. No we don’t,” Steinberg said. “We need to provide more opportunity for our people and the government and the city ought to be the vehicle to help provide that opportunity.”

Council members Jay Schenirer, Eric Guerra and Rick Jennings said they support the mayor’s proposal to set aside $40 million a year for five years. However, Council members Angelique Ashby and Jeff Harris said they oppose the idea.


“We have looming (pension) obligations we can’t get away from, we just can’t,” said Harris, the only council member who voted against putting the Measure U sales tax increase on the November ballot.


Council members Larry Carr and Steve Hansen raised concerns with the $40 million a year proposal, but stopped short of ruling it out entirely.

“I do think what you’re trying to do is stop the threat of pension and labor costs from creeping in, but I don’t know what it’s gonna do to everything else,” Hansen said to Steinberg. Hansen, who represents downtown, midtown and Land Park, said he feared the new fund would not benefit his residents enough.

The council directed City Manager Howard Chan to bring back more details about how setting aside $40 million a year would affect the rest of the budget for the next five years.

Steinberg proposes the fund begin in fiscal year 2019-20. Chan’s proposed budget includes $23.5 million in spending in new funding that would go partly toward areas targeted by Measure U campaigning, and also includes a roughly $51 million surplus. Steinberg suggested that surplus could be used to cover the $40 million this year.


Council members raised concerns about where the money would come from in the next four years.

Ashby, who has been on the council since 2010, said $51 million is the largest surplus she has seen.

“We have more resources, but to obligate them up front would be to handcuff ourselves and that would be a mistake,” Ashby said.

The council plans to adopt the fiscal year 2019-20 budget on June 11.




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Old 05-19-2019, 08:40 PM
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2019/...waNurs8sMuIO5Q

Quote:
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot Urges Divesting From Alabama Over Abortion

Spoiler:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s comptroller says he’s urging the state’s pension system to divest itself from Alabama-based companies due to the state’s strictest-in-the-nation abortion ban.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Comptroller Peter Franchot said the law was “a malicious assault on the rights and protections of women everywhere.”

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Franchot, a Democrat elected in a statewide vote, is the vice chairman of Maryland’s State Retirement and Pension System. He says he’s asking the system to undertake a review of all relationships the system has with businesses in Alabama.

He says that will include an inventory of assets that are invested in Alabama-based companies, as well as all investment managers, brokers and consultants that are headquartered, or have regional offices, in the state.

He’s also asking that no system employees travel to Alabama.
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