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The future of Florida public service pension funds (2011 FCCMA annual conference, James Linn)


Summary of SB1128

Sustainable Pensions . COM

Pension Funds-Analysts Need to Immediately Make Adjustments to Cash Flow and Financial Structure :" the gap is considerably higher, perhaps by as much as 50% when using interest rates available today"

A $176 Billion Gap for Public Pensions

The Cost of Unionization: Most employees do not realize how the presence of a union and even their external activities can negatively impact the business.....

Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions: “We had no idea what we were doing,” said Tony Oliveira, who as a supervisor in Kings County, in central California, voted to increase employees’ benefits, and now is on the board of the state’s enormous pension fund. “This was probably the worst public policy decision in the state’s history. But everyone kept saying there was plenty of money."

The Revenue Demands of Public Employee Pension Promises
"One theme that emerges is that substantial revenue increases or spending cuts are required to pay for pension promises to public employees, even if pension promises are frozen at today's levels. The cost savings that states would realize through soft or hard freezes depends on the current level of generosity of the plans, as well as current levels of employee contributions and the generosity of the DC plan that would replace the DB plan. Hard freezes, even with the relatively generous DC plans that we model (an employer cost of 10% of pay, plus Social Security for all employees fully paid for by the employer) reduce revenue demands for all states. "

Battle brewing over Texas public pensions: "King said he would support a constitutional amendment eliminating public pensions in the state and moving all government employees to retirement accounts akin to 401(k)s." "The problem is that states can't save money anytime soon by doing away with pensions. In fact, it costs more in the midterm because taxpayers must contribute more to cover the benefits accrued by retirees and current workers because new workers would no longer be chipping in to the pension."

Tough Choices facing Florida's governments: The current recession plaguing Florida and other states has revealed an unexpected and unwanted fiscal reality: many of our local governments have promised more in retirement benefits to their employees than is fiscally prudent. The result is potentially a ticking time bomb for Florida citizens unless the state and localities act to recognize and alleviate obligations they cannot afford to keep.

Hollywood voters head to polls on pension cuts; vote eyed by other cities:"The single benefit that seems to be rising faster than all the others is the pension benefits," said Michael Smith, director of Human Resources in Pompano Beach, which this year negotiated close to $2 million in pension concessions with its fire and general employees. "It's been rising exponentially. No other benefit has done that.''

Unions, Dynamism, and Economic Performance: "traditional union governance in the US private sector has proven poorly suited to flourish in an increasingly competitive and dynamic world"

Why Pensions are Grossly Underfunded

Protecting Florida's Cities through Pension Reform: The problem can be addressed by encouraging local governments to place all new employees in 401k-style "defined contribution" pension plans rather than "defined benefit" plans, and to encourage current employees to convert to defined contribution plans as well. This would help ensure that that the present costs of government would be funded in present budgets. Municipalities that wanted to offer defined benefit plans should be encouraged to offer them through the state government's Florida Retirement System; this can be encouraged by removing the disincentives that currently discourage municipalities from entering — or re-entering — the FRS.

!Real Rates of Return and PensionFunding

State Board of Administration of Florida Florida Retirement System: Pension Plan Review 1Q11

Why Real Rates of Return Must Fall

Pension Gaps Loom Larger: Depressed stock prices aren't the only thing putting pressure on potential returns. Plummeting bond yields mean that plans' fixed-income portfolios will likely earn less in the future. A lower inflation outlook means that funds will have to generate greater real returns to meet their return targets...Mr. Smith says he thinks Washington and other states eventually will lower expected returns, but that it will be a slow process because reduced assumptions "will increase the cost of pension benefits, and right now the budgetary environment is a big obstacle to that."

Unemployment (Larry Summers): Another cause of long-term unemployment is unionization. High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy.

Union Facts: The Center for Union Facts has gathered a wealth of information about the size, scope, political activities, and criminal activity of the labor movement in the United States of America.

What Investment Returns Are Public Pensions Really Assuming?

Key House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Dangerous Pension Bill (union site): Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Public Pension Transparency Act. H.R. 567 and S. 347 would require states to calculate their long-term obligations using unrealistically low rates of return on investments, and create a false picture of the plans funded status.

how rates of return affect pension contribution rates: key takeaway "for every 1.0% the real rate of return drops, the annual pension fund contribution as a percent of salary will go up by 10% or more"

Wilshire Consulting- 2010 Report on City & County Retirement Systems: Funding Levels and Asset Allocation: key takeaway "Wilshire forecasts a long-term median return on city and county pension assets equal to 6.5 percent per annum. This 6.5 percent estimate is 1.5 percentage points below the median actuarial interest rate assumption of 8.0 percent"

Advantages of Defined Contribution Plans: "The most obvious advantage of defined contribution plans for workers is portability"


Employee Benefits Legal Resource Site

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