Ken Sarni

Ken Sarni

N. Riverside can’t claim hardship to skirt police, fire pension obligations
Source: Cook County Record

This case concerns the Village of North Riverside’s failure to meet its statutory contribution obligations to its police and firefighter pension funds. At an administrative hearing, the Village argued that its noncompliance should be excused because it had good and sufficient cause for failing to meet its obligations. The administrative hearing officer rejected the Village’s arguments, and the hearing officer’s recommendation was accepted by the Director of the Public Pension Division. The Village sought administrative review in the circuit court which affirmed the decision. The Village now seeks review here, and we confirm the administrative ruling and affirm the circuit court’s decision.

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Political class manipulating public employees’ pension fund statistics
Source: Star-Telegram by Max Faulkner

Two foundations closely aligned with business and Wall Street interests have stepped up attacks against public employee pension funds.

They know the legislative session is right around the corner. Lawmakers and the general public should continue to view them with suspicion.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation recently took aim at pension funds’ unfunded liabilities, a measure of benefit promises to current assets.  The TPPF sought cover of Pension Review Board reports to lump together 93 pension funds, ranging in size from $2 million to $133 billion, to produce a headline number of $61 billion in unfunded liabilities.

The size is meant to stagger, until put in proper context.

The TPPF failed to mention that 42 pension funds had decreases in those liabilities and 23 more had meager single-digit increases.  Excluding six of the largest state and local pension funds, the total increase for the 87 remaining systems amounted to only $39 million, which is hardly an unmanageable figure.

In fact, considering their billions in combined assets, it is miniscule.

Nor did the report include calculations for latest investment returns, most of which will be positive for a good stock market year in 2016. Those returns will not be in Pension Review Board stats until early 2017.

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2015 Comparative Study of Major Public Employee Retirement Systems
Source: Wisconsin Legislative Council

This report compares significant features of major state and local public employee retirement systems in the United States. The report compares retirement benefits provided to general employees and teachers, rather than benefits applicable only to narrower categories of employees such as police, firefighters, or elected officials. Generally, the report has been prepared every two years since 1982 by the Wisconsin Retirement Research Committee staff or the Legislative Council staff.

The 2015 Report includes data from the same 87 public employee retirement systems that were compared in the prior report. Although this report does not cover all major public employee retirement systems, it describes at least one statewide plan from each state. The same public employee retirement systems have been covered in previous reports to show long-term trends in public employee retirement systems.

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Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2017 – 2026
Source: CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE

The Congress faces an array of policy choices as it confronts the challenges posed by the amount of federal debt held by the public—which has more than doubled relative to the size of the economy since 2007—and the prospect of continued growth in that debt over the coming decades if the large annual budget deficits projected under current law come to pass (see Figure 1-1). To help inform lawmakers, the Congressional Budget Office periodically issues a compendium of policy options that would help to reduce the deficit.1 This edition reports the estimated budgetary effects of various options and highlights some of the advantages and disadvantages of those options.

This volume presents 115 options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next decade (see Table 1-1 on page 6). The options included in this volume come from various sources. Some are based on proposed legislation or on the budget proposals of various Administrations; others come from Congressional offices or from entities in the federal government or in the private sector.

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The new low-wage reality for older Americans
Source: Money Watch by Aimee Picchi

Thanks to economic instability and an eroding pension system, Americans are working longer than ever. But it turns out there’s a twist in how they’re working: New research shows workers older than 55 increasingly hold low-wage jobs.

The findings may add to the anxiety that haunts many workers about how — or if — they’ll have the financial resources to retire. In September, slightly more than 27 percent of full-time workers over 55 years old held low-wage jobs, compared with 19 percent of younger workers, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economics at The New School for Social Research.

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Pension Tension 11 1
Source: Business First AM with Angela Miles

Pension Tension? Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability on political interference in teacher pensions.

You Tube Video

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New Developments in Social Investing by Public Pensions
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Public pension funds continue to engage in social investing, most recently divesting from Iran and fossil fuels.
  • However, social investing is often not effective, as other investors step in to buy divested stocks.
  • Social investing can also produce lower investment returns, conflict with the views of beneficiaries and taxpayers, and interfere with federal policy.
  • In short, public pension funds should not engage in social investing.

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Jacksonville FOP fires back against mayor’s office in pension flap
Source: Florida Politics

“Who knew what when?”

That’s the question posed by Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police head Steve Zona in a two-paragraph open letter regarding the latest in Jacksonville’s police and fire pension fund drama.

On Tuesday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry expressed frustration over problems with calculations of a “waiver” from the Jacksonville PFPF that could result in an additional $45 million of pension obligations per annum.

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2017 IPPFA Illinois Pension Conference – Registration Now Open
Source: IPPFA

overview

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 (the subject matter of this conference meets or exceeds state mandated requirements for trustee education; CEU’s are issued through Northern Illinois University).

For over 30 years, the IPPFA has offered public pension trustees the best and latest in trustee training education, striving to offer the best available training. Please join us for sessions in ethics, investment procedures, fiduciary responsibilities, and legal and legislative updates, all presented by nationally renowned speakers.

Register NOW

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State of Illinois Budget Summary 2017
Source: Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability

Public Act 92-0067 mandates that the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) prepare and publish a BUDGET SUMMARY REPORT detailing Illinois’ most recently enacted budget. The report is to be made available to all citizens of the State of Illinois who request a copy. The summary report is to include information pertaining to the major categories of appropriations, issues the General Assembly faced in allocating appropriations, comparisons of appropriations from previous State fiscal years and other information related to the current State of Illinois Budget.

The following report fulfills this mandate. The report begins with a discussion of the budgeting process. The budgetary process is then summarized chronologically. A highlighting of the bills that constitute the budget follows, along with other major legislation passed during the past spring legislative session. A review of the previous year’s budget is then provided. The FY 2017 budget is summarized including a listing of appropriations by agency. Various areas of the budget and State government operations, such as Elementary/Secondary Education, Medicaid, and State pensions, are looked at in detail. The report concludes with a Glossary of Terms and a Description of the various funds.

The Illinois Constitution requires the Governor to prepare and submit a state budget to the General Assembly that includes recommended spending levels for state agencies, estimated funds available from tax collections and other sources, and state debt and liabilities. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by statute a part of the Governor’s office, is responsible for estimating revenues and developing budget recommendations that reflect the Governor’s programmatic and spending priorities. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, by statute, is responsible for estimating revenues for the legislative branch of government.

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