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:
- Texas teacher retirement plans could be in danger by AnnaLise Coble: teachers in Texas are increasingly concerned that their pensions could be under attack by the state legislature next year. At a gathering of teachers in east Texas, they voiced their concerns about how potential changes could impact younger teachers. “How are we going to attract highly qualified, dedicated, young people into the field of education in the state of Texas when everything is so unsure about what their pension may be, what their benefits may be,” asked retired teacher Suzanne Bardwell.
- IPERS is on the line by John Brostad: Brostad warns about threats to the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS). As he points out, Republican legislators brought in the Koch Brothers- and John Arnold-funded Reason Foundation to “study” potential changes to IPERS. There has also been a piece of legislation introduced, Senate File 45, that would convert IPERS into a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.
- Pension arguments to be aired on statewide television by the Associated Press: on Thursday, September 20, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear the case regarding SB 151, the pension-gutting legislation passed by the Kentucky legislature in eight hours earlier this year. Due to the statewide significance of the case, the court will air the arguments on television. This will be only the second time in history that the court’s hearings have been aired on live television.
- Starved for recruits, Alaska police pin blame on retirement system by James Brooks: Alaska closed its statewide pension plans more than a decade ago. New employees now participate in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan. This has caused major problems for state troopers, police officers, and firefighters in trying to recruit new public safety officers. Defined benefit pensions are a proven tool for recruitment and retention of public employees and there are real consequences when pensions are eliminated.
- Palm Beach Police Dept. sees highest turnover in more than a decade by Ian Cohen: in 2012, Palm Beach, Florida closed its defined benefit pension plan for police officers. The city experienced such a massive exodus of police officers, that the city returned to a pension plan in 2016. Despite this reversal, the city continues to experience a high level of turnover and many lay the blame directly on the pension changes of the past decade.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!