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:

  • The Dangerous Consequence Of Cutting Public Safety Pensions by Diane Oakley: The Executive Director of the National Institute on Retirement Security writes how measures meant to cut costs in Palm Beach ended up putting communities at risk. In the public sector, pensions are particularly important as employees generally don’t make the same salary as they might in the private sector. Pensions ensure that governments are able to recruit and retain the most qualified employees, and when that retirement security is threatened, it has a wide-reaching impact. “By ‘freezing’ the pensions of 120 police officers and firefighters, 20 percent of the town’s workforce elected to retire right away. What followed was a mass exodus of employees.” The lesson? Pensions are a critical element in keeping our communities safe.
  • Kansas needs real leadership by Michael Scribner: President of Keeping the Kansas Promise Michael Scribner reminds Kansans of the disastrous Sam Brownback tax cuts and their effect on the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach hopes to bring back the tax cuts and policies which have already proven to be utter failures. Kansas has been able to repeal some of these policies and begin to rebound, but one thing is clear: Kansas can’t afford to make these same mistakes twice.
  • ‘We will remember in November.’ Will teachers toss lawmakers who backed pension bill? by Jack Brammer: Since last April, teachers in Kentucky have been echoing the refrain from their rally in Frankfort: “We’ll remember in November”. When Governor Bevin and Republican leaders rushed a sewage bill with pension-gutting language hastily attached through the legislature, teachers and other public employees had had enough. Looking forward to next Tuesday, teachers are on the ballot as well as an X factor in the voting booth, where 90 of 100 House seats are being contested.
  • Tell Iowa politicians to protect public employees’ retirement system by Mary Cannon-James: Governor Kim Reynolds promised Iowa’s public employees that under her leadership, they wouldn’t see any changes in their benefits. However, at the same time, she has not ruled out any changes to the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System. If IPERS were to switch to a hybrid plan, the unfunded liability of Iowa’s pension system would only increase, giving reason for retirees to fear cuts to their benefits. Retirement security is serious business, and when politicians make promises regarding it, they should keep those promises.

Be sure to check back in the weeks ahead for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!