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:
Opinion: PERS cuts another attack on the middle class by Melissa Unger. In an op-ed in the Oregonian, Melissa Unger, the Executive Director of SEIU Local 503, makes the argument that Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s pension plan puts too much of a burden on public employees in the state. She correctly asserts that Oregon PERS unfunded liability is mostly due to the market crash in 2008 and now public employees are being used to pay down that unfunded liability. Oregon PERS is currently 80 percent funded and is one of the most well funded pension plans in the nation.
Letters: Lawmakers made progress in keeping retirement systems healthy by Dana L. Vicknair and Cindy Rougeou. In an opinion piece in The Advocate, both Dana Vicknair from the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana and Cindy Rougeoi from the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System discuss how Louisiana’s pension systems are healthy. In recent years, Louisiana lawmakers have made adjustments to the plans, and committed to properly funding the plans each and every year. Although some lawmakers have tried to close the plans and move all newly hired employees to defined contribution plans instead of the pension plans, those proposals have been defeated.
With time running out, Matt Bevin wants to know which lawmakers support his pension bill by Phillip Bailey. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has until July 1st to call a special session of the legislature or quasi-state agencies and regional universities will see their pension obligations increased by 70 percent. Bevin has released drafts of his legislation, but the governor is still violating the inviolable contract the state has with public employees, which is illegal. These universities and quasi-state agencies, such as rape crisis centers, are crucial to local communities. By not freezing the contribution rate at current levels, they will be put in a dire financial situation.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!