News

The Great Texas Pension Fix
Source: The Atlantic CityLab

Houston owes its police, fire, and city workers about $7.8 billion, and it doesn’t exactly have the cash on hand. Their hard-fought solution could serve as a model for the rest of Texas, and the nation.

When Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner took office last year, he inherited a sweeping pension crisis. The city had an unfunded liability of $5.6 billion, a figure representing Houston’s obligations to its fire, police, and municipal pension systems.

Then it got worse: After he took office and got a closer look at the books, Turner saw the revised figure—$7.8 billion.

Pensions are the storm clouds on the horizon that threaten to wash out the so-called Texas Miracle, the wave of new jobs that kept the Lone Star State afloat through the Great Recession. Taken together, the four largest cities in Texas—Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio—owe more than $22 billion in pension shortfalls. Dallas and Houston rank second and fourth, respectively, on the list of cities nationwide with the largest unfunded pension liabilities, per a ranking by Moody’s. (At number one? Chicago.)

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Dallas Looks At Scrapping Troubled Fire Pension System
Source: The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS, TX – City officials offered an explosive proposal Wednesday in their effort to save the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System: Don’t save it at all.

Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Reich told the Dallas City Council that officials could create an entirely new retirement system called the Public Safety Employees Retirement Fund. Younger active employees would have the option to transfer to the new pension system, where they would get a traditional pension benefit as well as a 401k plan with a 5 percent city match on top of it.

Police and firefighters who transfer would take lower guaranteed benefits, but would be able to escape a system that is heading toward insolvency within the next 10 years.

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New Year, Same Old PA Pension Problems
Source: WSKG News

(Harrisburg) — In one of the state Capitol’s well-trafficked lobby areas, there’s a clock that tracks unfunded pension liabilities. All day and night, that clock ticks upwards, adding billions of dollars to Pennsylvania’s debts every year.

The clock’s overseen by a dedicated group of pension overhaul advocates and on Tuesday, they dragged it up to the Capitol’s main rotunda to make a renewed call to lawmakers: find a way to halt the clock’s rising numbers, once and for all.

The clock currently places the state’s pension debts at more than $74 billion, a higher number than the $62 billion the state Independent Fiscal Office reports.

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A Report on the Financial Condition of the Illinois Municipal, Chicago and Cook County Pension Funds in Illinois
Source: CGFA

This report examines the financial status of various public employee retirement systems in Chicago and Cook County, along with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, as of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. The fiscal year ends December 31 for all systems, but Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago ends its fiscal year on June 30.

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General Anthony Zinni to Speak at the IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference
Source: IPPFA

General Zinni joined the Marine Corps’ Platoon Leader Class program in 1961 and was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from Villanova University. He held numerous command and staff assignments that included platoon, company, battalion, regimental, Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Marine Expeditionary Force command. His staff assignments included service in operations, training, special operations, counter-terrorism, and manpower billets. He has been a tactics and operations instructor at several Marine Corps schools and was selected as a fellow on the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group.

Come join the IPPFA for its 2017 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference, held May 2nd through May 5th, 2017 at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, IL.

 

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Illinois Senate to try again on pension reform
Source: The State Journal-Register

Illinois lawmakers will be asked to again tackle cost-saving pension reforms as part of the “grand bargain” package of bills being negotiated in the Senate.

The new version takes a different approach to pension reform that advocates believe will allow it to withstand an inevitable court challenge.

However, an analysis of the bill prepared by a coalition of public employee unions disputes that idea and says the most recent reform plan is just as unconstitutional as a plan struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015.

The analysis was distributed to state lawmakers.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has pushed for lawmakers to enact pension reforms even as payments to the five state-funded pension systems eat up more tax revenue each year. Required payments to the pensions systems will increase by $1 billion in next year’s budget to about $8.8 billion. The state’s pension debt has now climbed to $130 billion.

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Welcome Byron Fire Protection District Pension Fund to IPPFA
Source: IPPFA

Welcome Byron Fire Protection District Pension Fund to IPPFA.

 

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Public Pension Resource Guide
Source: National Institute on Retirement Security

The Role Public Pensions on the Economy and for Employers, Taxpayers, Employees & Retirees.

Why Do Pensions Matter?

Public Pension Basics

Strong Public Pensions for Today & Tomorrow

2017-01-20_final_public_pension_resource_guide

 

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Bloomingdale officer remembered for his dedication, smile
Source: Daily Herald

Officer Raymond Murrell appeared destined to have a bright future with the Bloomingdale Police Department.

After less than a year on the force, the 27-year-old already had distinguished himself by earning honors at the police academy, helping save a man’s life during his field training and having positive interactions with the public once he officially was on the job.

But Murrell’s career was cut tragically short late Thursday when he was killed in a one-car crash while responding to a call.

“This is what he wanted to do. He loved being a police officer,” Chief Frank Giammarese said. “We were so lucky to have him. To lose him so tragically, it’s a hard thing.”

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Illinois Senate files backup bill for city worker pensions
Source: Chicago Sun Times

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate has filed a backup plan for a bill to help save two city worker pension funds — just days after Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed not to sign a measure without a statewide pension reform fix.

A bill already passed the Illinois House and Senate during the 99th General Assembly, which ended Wednesday. But Rauner won’t support the bill without wider pension reform. And his administration questioned the bill’s use of revenue — which they contend 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.

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