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:

  • Voters Reject Candidates in 3 States Who Lobbied for Switch to DC Plans by Brian Croce: The elections held on November 6 saw three candidates who actively campaigned on moving public employees from a pension plan to a defined contribution retirement plan did not succeed in their effort to win their election. “Voters are beginning to realize that switching newly hired public employees to defined contribution plans like 401(k) plans is a sham. Not only do they not provide an adequate retirement for public employees, but they end up costing their respective state more in the long-run. Pensions continue to be the best retirement to offer public employees,” said Bridget Early, Executive Director of the National Public Pension Coalition.
  • Unlike state workers and teachers, KY lawmakers have a pension fund in terrific shape  by John Cheves: While Kentucky continues to wait on the Supreme Court’s decision on the pension gutting bill passed earlier this year, Cheves explores funding levels of the various state pension plans. Specifically, while the Kentucky Retirement System only is only funded at 12.9 percent and the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky is funded at 57.7 percent, the Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System sits at 97.8 percent funding. This is the fund that offers pensions to current and former state lawmakers elected prior to 2014. “Our legislators certainly know how to fund a pension system, don’t they? At least when it’s the system for them,” said Jim Carroll, spokesman for Kentucky Government Retirees, a Facebook advocacy group. “It’s unfortunate that they’ve not done as good a job for others. It’s really just another example of their self-dealing.”
  • Outlook for Kentucky teachers’ pension system improving by Adam Beam: As noted above, the Teachers Retirement System of Kentucky is currently funded 57.7 percent. That is a marked improvement from last year, when the funding level was at 56.4 percent. The reason behind the improved funding – better than expected investment returns coupled with the state making their payments. “From 2012 to 2016, the legislature never approved more than 74 percent of the system’s funding request. The legislature has approved 97 percent of the agency’s funding request in the past two years, plus 100 percent of the request over the next two years.”

We are taking next week off for Thanksgiving. Be sure to check back in two weeks for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!