Welcome to this week’s edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered 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.

Before we dive into our top stories from this week, check out some stories of public employees helping their communities during the coronavirus pandemic: 

Here are the top stories from this week: 

Public pension funds are a net gain for state and local revenue – study by Hazel Bradford. In this article for Pensions & Investments, Bradford writes about new research released on Tuesday from the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) that shows “public pension funds were net revenue generators for state and local governments in 2018, surpassing taxpayer contributions by $179 billion.” This is an increase of more than 30 percent from NCPERS’s previous study on the topic that covered 2015-2016. Bradford also notes that “for 40 states, public pensions were net revenue positive above taxpayer contributions, up from 38 in the earlier study.” 

State workers fear worst as Colorado lawmakers begin slashing budget by John Frank. In Colorado, the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee continues working on the state’s budget, and the Public Employees Retirement Association of Colorado (PERA) could be threatened. Frank states that “the budget writers will consider a move to reduce the state’s payments to the pension system – known as PERA – by 2.5% and ask government employees to pick up the tab.” As we wrote last week, “Reducing spending on pensions is the last thing public employees need during this economic crisis. Just like in Illinois, retired public employees in Colorado do not receive Social Security benefits, making their pension benefits all the more important for staying afloat in retirement. And in Colorado, pension spending provides multiple benefits for the state and its economy. In 2018, expenditures stemming from state and local pensions supported $7.6 billion in total economic output and 51,663 jobs, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).” 

New Report: Gender Pay Gap Persists Into Retirement by NIRS. Yesterday, NIRS released a new report highlighting that older women face more difficulty in accessing a secure retirement than older men. According to the report, “older women receive about 80 percent of the retirement income older men receive, a disparity that mirrors the gender pay gap” and that “women experience a steep decline in income past age 80.” We must protect pensions for all public employees, but especially for female public employees so they can afford to retire with security.

Mitch McConnell Rallies Americans To Support State And Local Pensions by Edward Siedle. In this article for Forbes, Siedle writes about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that states declare bankruptcy instead of asking the federal government for aid. Siedle notes that McConnell “supports a $58 billion bailout of the airline industry in response to the coronavirus pandemic; hundreds of billions to bailout supposedly small businesses—many of which, according to a Reuters analysis released today, are publicly-traded companies with plenty of cash,” yet he unfairly targets public employees who serve their communities as undeserving of help. Siedle also points out that “ McConnell’s near-giddy willingness to use trillions of taxpayer monies to bail out big business… stands in ugly contrast to his mean spirited frugality when it comes to state and local workers.” It’s not shocking that, as a result, “Americans are rallying in support of police, firefighters, and school teachers.” 

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