Pension Problems: Breaking down state pension liabilities
Source: The Mining Journal

The first in a six-part series on the state of pensions in Michigan

– At just 61.6 percent funded, Michigan ranks 39th nationally for the health of its public pension system, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal

MARQUETTE — A perfect storm has converged around public pension plans, putting municipalities, schools, administrators and legislators in a bind over how to rebuild and fund benefits sustainably into the future.

With costs rising to meet the growing liability, public entities are facing difficult decisions.

“You start playing this game of, well, what’s more important — should we pave this road or pay this extra retirement contribution?” said Marquette City CFO Gary Simpson.

Unfunded accrued pension liability is the difference between the total amount due to both retirees and current employees upon retirement, and the actual amount of money the system has on hand to make those payments.

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Attacks on Pensions Keep Happening Again and Again
Source: National Public Pension Coalition

Today is Groundhog Day. Everyone’s favorite groundhog- Punxsutawney Phil- will stick his head out of the ground and look for his shadow. Legend has it that if Phil sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. Many of you may also remember a film called Groundhog Day, which stars Bill Murray as a man who repeats February 2 over and over and over again. If you’ve been keeping up with pension news and policy, you may feel a lot like Bill Murray. Every year, we see the same attacks on pensions repeated over and over and over again.

Last year in Lincoln, Nebraska, Chuck Reed, the president of the anti-pension Retirement Security Initiative, testified before the Pension Review Committee and encouraged them to switch from a defined benefit pension to a 401(k)-style plan. Lincoln rejected this idea. So this year, John Arnold is funnelling money through the Retirement Security Initiative to hire a $10,000 per month lobbyist to persuade the Nebraska state legislature to force Omaha and Lincoln to abandon their pensions for firefighters and police officers. Lawmakers in Lincoln must feel like they’re reliving 2016 all over again.

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