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

Here are stories from this week: 

New K-12 Workforce Survey Finds Vast Majority of Employees Satisfied With Ability to Serve Public and Job Security by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE). Yesterday, SLGE released a new report on how K-12 public employees view their jobs and benefits. According to the report, overall, those surveyed “are generally satisfied with their employer,” with 83 percent saying “they are most satisfied with the ability to serve their community” in ranking elements of the job. It also found that 60 percent of K-12 public employees would be more likely to leave their job if cuts were made to their defined-benefit pensions. This research further proves that pensions are an important asset for employers in recruiting and retaining public employees. 

Dishonest or ignorant? Incumbent Republicans’ use of pension funds raise that question by Jonathan Small. In this op-ed for the Tulsa World, Small criticizes the Oklahoma legislature’s decision to pass the first cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for most of the state’s retired public employees in 12 years. Small incorrectly states that a COLA will have “negative consequences for working families,” when this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), the spending of pension benefits is a net asset for communities across Oklahoma, as state and local pension spending supported 24,160 jobs and $3.5 billion in economic output throughout the state in 2018. 

States facing public pension crisis nationwide by Bethaney Blankley. In this article for the Center Square, Blankley falsely claims that states were “facing a pension crisis that existed well before the coronavirus economic shutdown ever hit, according to independent reviews of state budgets.” The vast majority of pension plans were well-funded before the current economic downturn, and will survive the economic slowdown because all pension plans invest for the long-term. The “independent reviews of state budgets” that Blankley cites to support her claim are also some of the most notable pension critics opposed to public workers’ retirement security, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, the John Locke Foundation, Truth in Accounting, and the Cato Institute. 

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