Subscribe: Government plans - state and local - misc (BenefitsLink.com)
http://www.benefitslink.com/rdf/benefitslink-governmentplans.rdf
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
billion  calpers  employees  pension plans  pension  pensions  plan  plans  public pension  public  retirement  state local  state 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Government plans - state and local - misc (BenefitsLink.com)

Government plans - state and local - misc (BenefitsLink.com)



Headlines re Government plans - state and local - misc, gathered by BenefitsLink.com



 



How Public Pension Plan Demographic Characteristics Affect Funding and Contribution Risk (PDF)
"Approximately two-thirds of public pension funds' $3.7 trillion of assets are in investments other than cash and fixed income, and have volatile investment returns. Investment gains and losses become larger relative to payroll and government contributions... can become more variable, and plan funded ratios can become more volatile.... Growing plans with increasing numbers of workers are less susceptible to investment risk than are shrinking plans. Very mature plans with high assets relative to payroll and high cash outflows face greater funding risk, all else equal." (Rockefeller Institute of Government)



Dallas Mayor Sues Pension Board to Stop Withdrawals
"Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings ... filed the lawsuit Dec. 5 in state court in Dallas in his personal capacity. He seeks a court order to temporarily restrict all withdrawals from the pension system's Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) as 2016 outflows allegedly have greatly reduced the system's protected benefits. DROP is a program that allows eligible participants to simultaneously stay on the job with full pay while having their full retirement annuity paid into an interest-bearing account." (Bloomberg BNA)



2016 Retirement Confidence Survey of the State and Local Government Workforce (PDF)
25 pages. "One-third of public sector employees have been with their current employer for less than 10 years, and one-third for 20 years or longer.... Health insurance, retirement benefits, job security and salary are the most important job elements they would consider in deciding whether to switch employers. The vast majority are covered by a primary defined benefit pension plan; almost 20 percent of these workers reported changes to these benefits over the past two years. Two-thirds expect to receive retiree healthcare benefits from an employer when they retire; among these, one-quarter reported changes to their benefits over the past two years." (TIAA Institute, and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence)



Chicago Pension Reform Bills Stall as State Legislature Adjourns; Lame-Duck Vote Possible
"The measure was approved by the House by a 91-16 vote on Dec. 1, the final day of the fall session. There is still an opportunity for a final Senate vote as Illinois lawmakers are expected to reconvene in early January for a lame-duck session. The bill is intended to improve the pension fund's funding ratios through increased city contributions and raised contributions for certain employees." (Pensions & Investments)



[Opinion] CalPERS Gets Real on Future Returns?
"When it comes to pensions, it's not just about taking more risk, it's about taking smarter risks, it's about delivering high risk-adjusted returns over the long run to minimize the volatility in contribution risk. Sure, CalPERS can allocate 60% of its portfolio to MSCI global stocks and hope for the best but can it then live through the volatility or worse still, a prolonged recession and bear market? ... [P]ension plans are path dependent which means the starting point matters and if the plan is underfunded or severely underfunded, taking more risk can put it in a deeper hole, one that it might never get out of." (Pension Pulse)



State and Local Government Pension Risks (PDF)
30 presentation slides. "Despite large contribution increases and benefit cuts (primarily for new workers), U.S. public pension underfunding remains near record, almost as severe as at end of recession.... As interest rates fell and investing environment became more difficult, public pension plans maintained earnings assumptions and increased investment risk.... Incentives & institutions encourage risk taking. Lowering earnings assumptions would require large contribution increases." (Rockefeller Institute of Government)



Long-Term Pension Policy Considerations with an Aging Population (PDF)
"An aging population and low fertility rates are two major demographic challenges facing the world today and, more specifically, U.S. public sector pension plans. Both of these challenges create a rising fiscal burden whose effects reverberate through all public sector populations. Risk pooling for retirement and health care benefits begins to lose its effectiveness as populations tilt more toward the aged person whose life expectancy is increasing with each future generation." (GRS)



Teachers to Sue Kentucky Governor Over Underfunding of Pensions
"Jefferson County teachers who are fed up with the state government's failure to properly fund their pensions plan to sue Gov. Matt Bevin and two other high-ranking officials over the financial quagmire.... They hope the lawsuit will lead to a ruling that requires the state to fulfill its fiscal obligations to the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, which has been inadequately funded for years ... Teachers are contributing over 12 percent of their paychecks to KTRS[.]" (The Courier-Journal)



[Opinion] A Boomtown at Risk: Austin's Mounting Public Pension Debt (PDF)
11 pages. "Austin owes nearly $1.8 billion in pension debt, and its pension plans do not have enough money to pay for nearly one third of the retirement benefits that workers have already earned." (Laura and John Arnold Foundation)



California Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Its Own Pensions
"The state Supreme Court last week agreed to hear an appeal of a groundbreaking ruling that allows cuts in the pensions earned by current state and local government workers, including judges.... [T]he seven Supreme Court justices seem unlikely to recuse themselves from a possible landmark ruling on this Marin County pension case, mainly because there is no clear alternative." (Calpensions)



The Interplay Between Retirement Plan Funding Policies, Contribution Volatility, and Funding Risk (PDF)
22 presentation slides. "Goal: Evaluate and quantify risk of severe underfunding and of large increases in employer contributions (ERC) under different funding policies.... Findings: [1] Commonly used funding methods can exacerbate the risks of severe underfunding and of large increases in contributions by government employers. [2] No easy way out: de-risking almost certainly requires higher contributions." (Rockefeller Institute of Government)



California Supreme Court Will Review Major Public Pension Ruling
"The court of appeal's August ruling amounted to a major change in California pensions law, scholars said.... For decades, California courts have ruled that state and local employees were entitled to the pension that was in place on the day they were hired. Pensions could be cut for current employees only if an equivalent benefit were added, making it difficult for governments to cut costs. If upheld, the ruling could be a vehicle for reducing a shortfall of hundreds of billions of dollars in public pensions in California." (Los Angeles Times)



CalPERS, CalSTRS Considering More Rate Increases
"The two systems are still seriously underfunded, CalPERS at 68 percent and CalSTRS at 65 percent.... Both are nearing a time when there will be more retirees in the system than active workers.... [In] 1971 there were were six active workers in the [CalSTRS] system for every retiree. Today CalSTRS only has 1.5 active workers for every retiree, similar to the CalPERS ratio. A wave of baby boom retirees that began around 2011, and the continuing increase in the average life span of retirees, have added to the growing cost of paying pensions[.]" (Calpensions)



[Opinion] CalSTRS Sets Standard on Fee Disclosure?
"CalSTRS is leading the way once again with this initiative to be completely transparent by disclosing all the fees it pays out to external managers and track total expenses more closely.... In an ideal world, we should be able to read the annual report of any public pension to understand how much was paid out in management fees, how much in performance fees (carried interest), how much for internal salaries, how much to vendors, brokers, consultants, accountants, lawyers, etc. and exactly who received what amount." (Pension Pulse)



2017 Planning for Governmental Retirement Plan Operations (PDF)
"The calendar provided in this [article] will help sponsors of governmental retirement plans that are exempt from many ERISA requirements set up a schedule of activities to address as the year progresses so that important deadlines for qualified public -sector plans are met.... [T]here are a number of key issues for you to consider as we head into 2017." (Xerox HR Services)



CalPERS Cuts Tiny Town's Pensions by 60 Percent
"Doing what it has never done before, the CalPERS board voted yesterday to slash the pensions of all five former employees of a small Sierra County town, Loyalton, by an estimated 60 percent.... A divided Loyalton city council attempted to get back into CalPERS, talked about getting a loan with installment payments, and pleaded ignorance about the need to pay off the big debt to preserve the pensions of four retirees and one person not yet retired." (Calpensions)



CalPERS Finds the City of Loyalton in Default for Non-Payment of Pension Obligation
"The Board of Administration for [CalPERS] today declared the city of Loyalton in default of its obligations to CalPERS after failing to pay what it owes to fund its pension plan.... To date, Loyalton has not made any payments toward its voluntary termination costs.... [A] certified letter explaining CalPERS' proposed action to reduce benefits was sent to the four affected retirees and one individual who no longer works for the city but does not yet collect retirement benefits." (CalPERS)



Text of Arizona Supreme Court Opinion: Pension Formula for State Judges Vests Upon Employment; 2011 Legislative Changes Violate State Constitution (PDF)
"[T]he Bill's change to the benefit increases formula violates the Pension Clause because it 'diminishes and impairs' the employed members' pension benefits. The Bill's changes to the benefit increases formula and the contribution rate also violate our holding in Yeazell because the Legislature cannot unilaterally change the terms of the members' pension contracts once their rights to those terms have vested at the beginning of the members' employment." [Hon. Hall et al. v. EORP/State, No. CV2011-021234 (Az. Nov. 10, 2016)] (Supreme Court of the State of Arizona)



NASRA Issue Brief: State Hybrid Retirement Plans (PDF)
"[T]his brief examines two types [of hybrid plans] in use in the public sector. The first is a cash balance plan, which marries elements of traditional pensions with individual accounts into a single plan ... The second type combines a traditional DB plan, usually with a lower level of benefit accrual, with an individual [DC] retirement savings account ... Despite variability among these plans, most contain the core features known to promote retirement security: mandatory participation, shared financing between employers and employees, pooled assets invested by professionals, targeted income replacement with survivor and disability protection, and a benefit that cannot be outlived." (National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA])



New Developments in Social Investing by Public Pensions
"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." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)



San Jose Alternative Pension Plan Appears to Pass
"About 62 percent of San Jose voters approved Measure F, which will allow the city to adopt retirement health care and pension benefits it agreed on with its 11 employee unions.... Measure F's proponents have argued that the negotiated plan will save the city $3 billion in the next three decades and draw in new and former employees, including police officers needed to help fill patrol shifts as the city's population grows." (KTVU.com)



Going Down: Public Pension Plan Return Assumptions
"Public pension plans have abandoned their 8% return assumption en masse since 2010, accepting that the current investing environment cannot keep pace with that level of return.... [T]he majority of plans as of FY 2016 have shifted their return assumptions into the 7.25%-to-7.5% range. Half of the number of plans that targeted a return of 8% in 2005 have maintained that into the current period." (Pensions & Investments)



EEOC Files Appeal in Baltimore County Pension Case
"The [EEOC] is appealing a court ruling that absolved Baltimore County of having to return money to thousands of employees who overpaid into the pension system.... EEOC lawyers have argued that the county knew for years that its age-based pension plan rates were discriminatory, and the possibility of having to pay employees back should have been 'foreseeable for several decades.' A federal judge ruled in 2012 that the county had been wrong to overcharge older workers. In August, another judge ruled the county would not have to pay those workers back." (The Baltimore Sun)



[Opinion] Put Public Employees on Secure Choice and Social Security
"Why not freeze the employer contributions into California's state and local employee pension funds at 20% of salary (that's a two-to-one match on a 10% contribution via withholding), and then, constrained by those fixed percentages, lower all benefits, for all participants, on a pro-rata basis to restore solvency? Better yet, why not enroll every state and local government employee in the Secure Choice program?" (UnionWatch)



Houston Mayor Announces Plan to Cut Pension Benefits, Issue Bonds
"[The mayor] announced benefit reductions in the three pension funds would reduce total liabilities by $2.5 billion, and the city would also issue $1 billion in pension obligation bonds, $750 million of which would be contributed to the police officers' pension system and $250 million of which would be issued to the municipal employees pension system." (Pensions & Investments)



Teacher Pension Costs Are Crowding Out Education Spending
"Almost every state increased retirement benefits for teachers in the booming 1990s ... By 2003, the funding for teacher pension plans overall was short by $235 billion; and by 2009, pension debt had more than doubled, to $584 billion.... [P]ension debt per pupil ... increased by an inflation-adjusted $9,588 between 2000 and 2013.... Retirement costs per pupil are already approaching 10% of all education expenditures." (Manhattan Institute for Policy Research)



[Official Guidance] Text of GASB Exposure Draft of Proposed Implementation Guide: Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans
129 pages. "The objective of this Implementation Guide is to provide guidance that clarifies, explains, or elaborates on the requirements of Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans.... The requirements of this Implementation Guide apply to the financial statements of all state and local governments." (Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB])



[Opinion] Are Public Pensions Bulletproof?
"Loyalton has been thrust onto center stage of America's public pension drama and this showdown is raising the possibility that California's pension promise is not absolute. This is particularly worrisome given California's pension gap is widening and could bring about major changes to public sector pensions there. And while Loyalton lacks the resources to fight CalPERS, if other cases develop ... don't be surprised if we get massive class action lawsuits (think Erin Brockovich) against retirement systems all over the United States." (Pension Pulse)



Union Appeal Focuses Attention on Public Employee Pension Precedent
"A decision by four Marin County public-employee associations to appeal a pension-related case to the California Supreme Court could ultimately determine whether localities have the tools needed to rein in escalating pension debt. At issue is how far officials can go to reduce some benefits for current employees after a state appeals court has chipped away at a legal 'rule' long favored by the state's unions." (Cal Watchdog)



Public Pension Cost-of-Living Adjustments Among the 50 States (PDF)
15 pages. "Public pension COLAs have received increased attention as many states look to make adjustments to the cost of benefits amid challenging fiscal conditions and the current low-inflationary environment. This brief presents a discussion about the purpose of COLAs, the different types of COLAs provided by government pension plans, and an overview of recent state changes to COLA provisions." (National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA])



Wilkes-Barre to Receive Aid for Municipal Pension Plans
"Wilkes-Barre is one recipient of aid in a new round of state payments to municipal pension plans, but the payment is expected to only cushion the expected shortfall in the 2017 budget. Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale this week announced the distribution of $271 million in annual payments to nearly 1,500 pension plans for municipal employees, police and firefighters." (The Citizens' Voice)



2016 Public Pension Funding Study (PDF)
"As of June 30, 2016, the aggregate funded ratio is estimated to be 69.8% ... Plan sponsors continue to reduce interest rate assumptions in the expectation that returns over the coming decades will be lower. The difference between the average sponsor-reported assumption of 7.50% and our independently determined assumption of 6.99% is the highest we have seen, indicating that pressure to reduce interest rate assumptions is unlikely to abate." (Milliman)



Employee Contributions to Public Pension Plans (PDF)
"[N]early all employees of state and local government are required to share in the cost of their retirement benefit.... [By] providing a consistent and predictable stream of revenue ... contributions from employees fill a vital role in financing pension benefits. In the wake of the 2008-09 market decline, employee contribution rates in many states have increased. This issue brief examines employee contribution plan designs, policies and recent trends." (National Association of State Retirement Administrators [NASRA])



An Overview of the Pension/OPEB Landscape
"This paper provides a comprehensive accounting of pension and OPEB liabilities for state and local governments and the fiscal burden that they pose. The analysis includes plans serving more than 800 entities: 50 states, 178 counties, 173 major cities, and 415 school districts related to the sample of cities and counties.... The cost analysis calculates, separately, pension and OPEB costs as a percentage of own-source revenue for states, cities, and counties. It then combines pension and OPEB costs to obtain the overall burden of these programs." [Data figures (XLS) also available.] (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)



Detroit Retirees' Effort to Restore Pension Fails
"A federal appeals court on Monday rejected a challenge to cuts in Detroit pensions, saying a plan that helped bring the city out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history must not be disturbed.... Some retirees sued, saying they deserve the pension that was promised before Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Thousands saw their pension cut by 4.5%; annual cost-of-living increases were eliminated." (Detroit Free Press)



Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions: Second Quarter 2016
"This report provides national summary data on the revenues, expenditures and composition of assets of the largest defined benefit public employee pension systems for state and local governments. This report produces three tables: Tables 1 and 3 include data on cash and security holdings and Table 2 provides data on earnings on investments, contributions and payments." (U.S. Census Bureau)



A Better Way to Measure the Danger of State and Local Governmental Pension Debt
"It's important to think about how cities will cover their unfunded pension liabilities. But when we talk about how pensions affect financial health, the far more important question is how does a region decide to manage its tax base and the overlaps that inevitably exist?" (Governing)



Standards and Metrics for Public Retirement Systems (PDF)
20 presentation slides. "What does heightened risk suggest for policy and what might it portend for behavior? For policy, ... it means we need more disclosure of risk to those who bear risk, to those who act on risk-bearers' behalf ... If deciders decide long-term risks are too high, could lead to: [1] Lower assumed returns; [2] Allocation away from riskier assets... [3] Substantially higher contribution requests; [4] Certain and substantial crowding out now (services, taxes), rather than risk of greater (or lesser) crowding out later." (The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Urban Institute)



Puerto Rico Pension Fund Joins Lawsuit Against UBS Over Muni Bonds
"UBS served as a major banker for the U.S. territory, which has been defaulting on a growing share of its debt and has been placed under federal financial oversight. The bank was able to legally serve as an adviser, underwriter and bond-fund manager even though such multiple roles are barred on the mainland because of the conflicts of interest." (Bloomberg)



In a First, CalPERS May Cut Small Town's Pensions
"A CalPERS crackdown on employers that have not been paying into the pension fund could cut the pensions of all four retirees of a small Sierra County city, Loyalton, which stopped making its payments more than three years ago. It would be the first time that CalPERS used its power to cut pensions, in proportion to the payment not made by the employer, after a plan is terminated and closed to new members, a CalPERS spokesman said." (Calpensions)



'This Is Becoming a Moral Issue': Officials Face Truth Behind Oregon's Soaring Pension Costs
"Just how bad is Oregon's public pension funding crisis? Bad enough that Rukaiyah Adams, the normally polished investment professional who is vice chair of the Oregon Investment Council, broke down in tears last week as she spoke of passing a record $22 billion in unfunded promises to future taxpayers.... Experts openly acknowledged they're understating the magnitude of Oregon's problem." (The Oregonian)



California Decision Called 'Existential Threat' to Pensions
"Reformers hailed the decision in a Marin County case last month as a long-sought way, if upheld by the state Supreme Court, to control runaway costs by cutting pension amounts current workers earn in the future, while protecting pension amounts already earned.... [T]he CalSTRS board was given a broader interpretation of the ruling by its fiduciary counsel, ... [who] seemed to suggest the ruling might open the door for cuts in pension amounts already earned." [Marin Assoc. of Public Employees v. Marin County Employees' Ret. Assoc., No. A139610 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist. Aug. 17, 2016; certified for pub.)] (Calpensions)



How a Pension Deal Went Wrong and Cost California Taxpayers Billions
"Proponents sold the measure in 1999 with the promise that it would impose no new costs on California taxpayers. The state employees' pension fund, they said, would grow fast enough to pay the bill in full. They were off -- by billions of dollars -- and taxpayers will bear the consequences for decades to come. This year, state employee pensions will cost taxpayers $5.4 billion ... That's more than the state will spend on environmental protection, fighting wildfires and the emergency response to the drought combined." (Los Angeles Times)



A Sour Surprise for Public Pensions: Two Sets of Books
"CalPERS ... keeps two sets of books: the officially stated numbers, and another set that reflects the 'market value' of the pensions that people have earned. The second number is not publicly disclosed. And it typically paints a much more troubling picture[.]" (The New York Times; subscription may be required)



Calif. Governor Signs Bill to Boost Pension Fund Fee Disclosure
"Private equity and hedge funds must disclose the fees they charge to California's public pension funds under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) Sept. 14. [The law] is intended to boost transparency about investment costs for [CalPERS and CalSTRS]. The new law also applies to city and county retirement systems, the University of California Retirement System and other independent public retirement systems." (Bloomberg BNA)



Consumer Protection Comparison of the Federal Pension System and the State Insurance System
68 pages. "When an employer de-risks its pension plan by purchasing one or more annuity contracts, consumer protections for affected individuals shift from the pension system to the insurance system. From a consumer-protection perspective, how does that shift affect the relative levels of protection? ... [T]he two systems employ different methods of protections that have different features and formulas, but both provide strong, time-tested protection of future pension or annuity benefit payments." (National Organization of Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Associations [NOLHGA])



Drop in Funding Levels of City and County Retirement Systems in Fiscal Year 2015 (PDF)
"For the 99 city and county retirement systems that reported actuarial data for 2015, pension assets grew by 0.4%, or $1.9 billion, from $451.1 billion in 2014 to $453.0 billion in fiscal 2015, while liabilities grew 5.9%, or $35.7 billion, from $600.5 billion in 2014 to $636.2 billion in 2015. These 99 plans saw their aggregate shortfall increase $33.7 billion over fiscal year 2015 from -$149.5 billion to -$183.2 billion." (Wilshire Associates)



An Examination of State Pension Fund Performance: 2006-2015
13 pages. "While capital markets largely drove returns for state pensions ... a wide range of 10-year return outcomes [exists] among state pensions, most of which is attributable to implementation (fund/manager selection) rather than differences in asset allocation.... [F]und/manager selection by state pensions, in aggregate, has been accretive to return over the study period. [T]he role of investments in helping solve pension underfunding will largely be determined by the future health of the capital markets, particularly for equity securities." (Cliffwater LLC)



What Role Can Annuities Play in Easing Risks in Public Pension Plans? (PDF)
36 pages. "This paper considers the role that annuities might play in providing a secure retirement to public employees. It finds that: [1] Public DB pensions are highly cost efficient.... [2] Public DB pension plans provide significant consumer protections in state law, while annuities have different consumer protections in state regulation and insurance law.... [3] Longevity annuities focus on the insurance value and are less expensive than fixed income annuities." (National Institute on Retirement Security [NIRS])



Hedge Fund Capacity May Be Factor in Pension Plan Pullback
"Large public plans -- those with $100 billion or more to invest -- typically have strategies to put 10 percent or more of their portfolio into hedge funds.... Investment managers for these plans, however, may be having difficulty finding a sufficient array of top-flight hedge fund managers in which to invest this money ... Sometimes ... these funds decide that taking in additional dollars will harm their investment returns. Consequently, they stop taking new money once the fund determines that it has reached its investment capacity[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)



[Opinion] Public Pensions Work -- and These Three Systems Prove It
"This report will examine three of the most successful public pension systems in the country. These three pension plans offer a roadmap to success for other pension systems looking to provide a secure retirement for their public employees. While each is unique, their common commitment to sound funding practices and responsible management ensures that the retirees of these systems can enjoy the dignified retirement they deserve." (National Public Pension Coalition)



State Pension Funds Showed Annualized 6.8% Median Return over 10-Year Period
"The 6.8% median return fell within a wide range of individual pension fund returns -- between 4.8% and 8.4%.... [T]he best-performing state plan outperformed the lowest-returning fund by a cumulative 63.8 percentage points over the 10-year period. The best performing fund was the $13.8 billion Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, Oklahoma City, which returned 8.3% for the 10 years ended June 30, 2015." (Pensions & Investments)



Chicago Mayor Tries to Prove Tax Plan Sufficient to Save Pension Fund
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel released an actuarial analysis in hopes of proving to aldermen that his 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills will be enough to save the largest of Chicago's four city employee pension funds.... Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said ... the infusion of $1 billion in new revenue from the new utility tax by 2023 will put the city's largest pension fund in a 'significantly better place.' But Msall noted that even with that windfall ... the condition of the pension fund will continue to drop over the next five years with 'more benefits going out than coming in.' " (Chicago Sun-Times)



Illinois Pension Crisis Builds as Market Turmoil Deals a Setback
"The state with the least-funded retirement system in the U.S. may see next year's contributions jump by nearly half a billion dollars after its largest pension, the Teachers' Retirement System, reduced the assumed rate of return on its portfolio.... Moody's Investors Service said the change added $7.4 billion to Illinois's debt to the fund[.]" (Bloomberg)



Seasonal Workers May Affect Health and Retirement Benefit Obligations
"The number of seasonal workers you hire may impact whether your agency is subject to certain ACA obligations.... [S]easonal workers may be entitled to paid sick leave under California's Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act.... [W]hen the employer hires an employee who is already a member of [the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)], the employee must be enrolled in membership with the employer, even if a seasonal worker. In addition, if full-time employment has a fixed term of more than six months, or more than one-year for a part-time employment (an average of at least 20 hours per week), the employee is entitled to membership." (Liebert Cassidy Whitmore)



Some Public Funds Uneasy with Fee Disclosure
"Measures in several states focusing on alternative investment fee disclosure are causing public pension plan executives to worry they could get shut out of the best funds if managers are unhappy with the requirements." (Pensions & Investments)



Public Pensions and Social Security, by State: Where Do Employees Get Both?
"The theory is that for public employees not covered by Social Security their government pensions should be higher (as should the amount they contribute towards their pension). Since we have the raw data from actuarial reports and have now found a website that lists states where public employees are not covered by Social Security ... we can test that theory. As it turns out the top eight states where retirees receive the largest average payouts are all [on the list of those not covered by Social Security]." (Burypensions)



[Opinion] Are U.S. Public Pensions Crumbling?
"Declining or negative rates will effectively mean soaring pension liabilities.... [T]he duration of pension liabilities (which typically go out 75+ years) is much bigger than the duration of pension assets so any decline in rates will disproportionately and negatively impact pension deficits no matter what is going on with risk assets like stocks, corporate bonds and private equity.... Stop focusing on assets and focus on growing liabilities in a deflationary world where people are living longer and introduce risk-sharing and better governance at your public pensions." (Pension Pulse)



[Opinion] Society of Actuaries to Publish Controversial Report on Public Pension Plan Financing
"Working under the auspices of both our organization and the American Academy of Actuaries, we were unable to reach an agreement with the authors on a version acceptable to all parties through our standard editing process. Nevertheless, on Thursday, Aug. 25 ... [the SOA] informed the authors of the paper of our plans to publish the paper representing their views in the SOA's Pension Forum publication. The publication is anticipated by the end of October[.]" (Society of Actuaries)



[Opinion] The Trillion Dollar State Pension Fund Gap?
"[S]witching to a DC pension plan won't stop the pension Titanic from sinking, it will only accelerate widespread pension poverty and increase social welfare costs (and the national debt).... [A recent report from Pew Charitable Trusts] gives us a snapshot of state pension funding gaps using the net amortization measure (and even that is deficient because they use their own assumed discount rates), but if offers little in terms of insights and policies that will improve retirement security in the United States." (Pension Pulse)