Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! 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.

Public Pension Benefits Support Small Towns Across America by Dan Doonan. Earlier this summer, the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) released “Fortifying Main Street: The Economic Benefit of Public Pension Dollars in Small Towns and Rural America.” The report emphasizes the significant economic impact public pensions have on rural American economies. In his op-ed for Forbes, NIRS Executive Director Dan Doonan states, “Public pension benefits provide a vital source of retirement security to the retired public employees who earned them during their years of public service.” The research suggests that pension benefit dollars comprise an average of 1.2% of GDP across the 2,922 counties studied in the report. Some counties in the report saw a much higher economic impact, such as Alger County in northern Michigan, where 16% of GDP comes from pension benefit dollars.

GOP Fury Over ESG Triggers Backlash With US Pensions at Risk by Frances Schwartzkopff. Investment professionals are issuing dire warnings to states such as Texas and Florida, whose governors’ pushed initiatives banning state funds from participating in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. These highly-politicized incentives directly oppose what the financial community has valued about ESG policies; investments that combat climate change, address social inequities, and commit to responsible funding discipline. Bryan McGannon, director of policy and programs at The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, spoke about Governor Ron DeSantis, who banned Florida state pension funds from screening for ESG risks earlier this week, saying, “DeSantis’s decision is clearly tied to politics because it’s certainly not in the best interest of pension fund beneficiaries.”

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