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:
- Special Olympics Oklahoma hosts online celebration
- Harmony teacher helping to make face shields
- Public health detectives: Quad-City ‘contact tracers’ are on front lines via phone lines
- Michigan teachers raise classroom pets at home amid pandemic
- Norwalk coach helps feed families in need during coronavirus crisis
Here are the top stories from this week:
AFT calls on Senate leader to protect older Americans, not punish them by Adrienne Coles. Last Tuesday, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to protect the pensions of retired public employees throughout this economic downturn. In its letter, AFT asked McConnell “to move away from any suggestion that states should declare bankruptcy to deal with the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic,” which “would in effect gut public services and pensions that workers have contributed to for decades over the course of their employment.” McConnell had previously suggested that states should declare bankruptcy instead of asking the federal government for assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fiscal year 2021 budget becomes law after House, Senate vote to override Gov. Stitt’s veto by KOCO Staff. On Wednesday, the Oklahoma legislature overrode Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of its $7.7 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021. Gov. Stitt originally vetoed the budget because it will “reduce the percentage of revenue appropriated to the teachers’ retirement system, the Oklahoma firefighter’s pension and retirement fund, the police pension and retirement system and the law enforcement fund while increasing revenue appropriated to the 1017 Education Fund.” The budget also called for cutting many agencies by 4 percent and education by 2.5 percent.
General Assembly to delay resumption of session until May 26, citing budget by Marianne Goodland. Last Saturday, the leaders of the Colorado General Assembly announced that they were delaying a return to session until May 26 “to give lawmakers more time for preparations such as safety protocols, to work through legislation tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ‘seek greater clarity on potential Congressional action that could significantly impact our state budget.’” The Joint Budget Committee has been meeting daily since May 4 “to look for $2 billion to $3 billion in cuts for the 2020-21 budget,” which includes evaluating “a balloon payment of $225 million to the state pension plan.”
New Research Examines Impact of Market Decline on Public Pension Plans by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE). SLGE released a new research brief with the Boston College Center for Retirement Research on Tuesday about how the economic downturn will affect public pension plans. It found that “even if markets do not fully recover until 2025, most plans will emerge with enough assets to pay benefits indefinitely.” This is further proof that most pension plans are well-funded enough to withstand the current economic crisis.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!