Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best 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:

  • Bevin broke law by hiding financial analysis of pension plan, Beshear rules by Daniel Desrochers: back in the fall, Kentucky Gov. Bevin and Republican leaders in the state legislature unveiled their harsh pension-cutting proposal. Actuarial firms analyzed the proposal for how it would impact the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS). The analysis regarding TRS was released and highlighted the very negative impact the proposal would have on current teachers, retirees, and taxpayers. Bevin then covered up the analysis regarding KRS and has refused to release it. This week the state’s attorney general ruled that Bevin broke the state’s open records law by refusing to release the analysis.
  • Recruitment, retention still major hurdles for Alaska State Troopers by Cameron Mackintosh: more than a decade ago, Alaska closed its public pension plans for teachers and state employees and forced new employees into a 401(k)-style plan. That shift has hurt recruitment of new Alaska State Troopers, who can earn better pay and benefits, including a pension, in other states.
  • NC Retirement Systems Returns 13.5% in 2017 by Michael Katz: North Carolina’s public pension system earned strong investment returns in 2017, continuing a pattern of many public pension plans earning double-digit returns in the past year. North Carolina’s plans also significantly reduced fees paid during the last year. As we highlighted in a 2016 report, North Carolina has some of the strongest public pension plans in the nation.
  • Utah, like most places, is struggling to find qualified police officers. What can be done about it? By Matthew Piper: in 2011, Utah abandoned its defined benefit pension plan and moved to a hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan. This has hurt recruitment of new police officers in much the same way that Alaska is struggling to hire new state troopers. It turns out that retirement security is a benefit that workers value, especially when they are doing the dangerous work of public safety.

Also this week, the National Institute on Retirement Security released a case study on the experience of Palm Beach, FL after it closed its defined benefit pension and moved its public safety officers to a hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan. The city experienced major recruitment and retention challenges and ultimately returned to a defined benefit pension. It is a powerful study on the importance of pensions for public employees.

Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!