Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the top stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.
Here are this week’s top stories:
- Attention America: Your Government is Being Run by Billionaires by Bailey Childers: NPPC’s executive director connects the dots between the billionaires now serving in government, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and the billionaires influencing government policy, like anti-pension ideologue John Arnold. Both DeVos and Arnold are stated opponents of pensions for teachers and other public employees.
- Despite fear-mongering, PERA is in good shape by Lynea Hansen: the executive director of Secure PERA in Colorado corrects the record on a number of falsehoods that have been spread about Colorado’s public pensions. Despite the assertions of some, Colorado PERA is not running out of money and will be able to pay all promised benefits. Political opponents of PERA should not use the retirement security of public employees as their punching bag while they pursue their ambitions for higher office.
- Step away from Kansas’ pension funds by Rebecca Proctor: the chairperson of the Keeping the Kansas Promise coalition warns against Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal to gut funding for Kansas’ public pension system. Kansas is still suffering under Brownback’s failed, right-wing tax policy. With revenue levels plummeting due to this irresponsible policy, Brownback has used the pension system as a credit card to fill holes in the state budget. Now, he is proposing to never repay the money that was borrowed and to reduce future contributions from the state. As states like Illinois and New Jersey have learned, this is the worst possible thing a state can do to its pension system (other than closing it completely).
- NCPERS Fires Back at Attack on Innovative Retirement Savings Plans by Hank Kim: this week, two congressmen introduced resolutions that would attack the Secure Choice model of state-facilitated retirement savings plan for private sector workers. Seven states so far have adopted some version of Secure Choice to meet the retirement security needs of private sector employees. More than two dozen other states are considering adopting such a plan. The resolutions introduced this week would undo regulatory decisions made by the Obama administration that made it easier for states to establish these programs.
- Maryland’s procrastinates on pension fund fixes — again by Washington Post editorial board: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has introduced a proposal to create an optional 401(k) plan for state employees that we warned against yesterday. However, Gov. Hogan and the state legislature are also considering not making their full required contributions to the state pension systems this year. That would be a mistake and would undo the hard efforts of the past several years to get Maryland’s public pensions on a secure financial footing.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!