February 5, 2016
ISSUE | PHILA. PENSION FUND Council gave away the store As a story about the expected shortfall in the city's pension fund pointed out, the fund paid $61 million in bonuses to three-quarters of its 30,000 retirees last year ("Investment losses hurt Phila.'s future," Monday). That payment was required by a law conceived, drafted, and sponsored by Mayor Kenney in 2007, when he was a city councilman. Mayor Street's veto of the measure was overridden by City Council. In the face of Council's strident opposition, Mayor Nutter had to abandon his attempt to restore a long-standing limitation on payment of the bonus unless the pension fund's obligations were at least 76 percent funded.
February 2, 2016 |
Let's say you count on earning $360,000 a year to take care of your many dependents, pay the bills, and stay afloat. You got lucky from 2010 to 2014, when you averaged about $552,000 a year. You were so flush that, in 2015, you gave your dependents a little extra, about $61,100. But last year, you saw your earnings slashed to $36,800. And to make matters worse, this year your earnings will be less, way less. And all along, however, the bills have to be paid, only they'll be higher this year.
September 25, 2015 |
TRENTON - New Jersey's pension-fund investments posted an annual return of 4.16 percent in the fiscal year that ended June 30, following years of mostly sustained double-digit returns, state officials said Wednesday. Nevertheless, according to Treasury Department data, the unaudited investment returns beat the state's benchmark, a composite of various indexes, which yielded 2.93 percent. The pension system for nearly 800,000 active and retired public workers had about $79 billion in assets at the end of the fiscal year.
September 23, 2015 |
Philadelphia will need to pay more into its "severely distressed" pension system, state Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale warned Monday in a new audit of the city's retirement plans. "We are extremely concerned about the historical trend," DePasquale wrote in his 18-page report. Philadelphia pays more in pensions than in paychecks. The city employs 27,000 police, firefighters, and non-uniformed employees, and supports more than 36,000 retirees. Fully qualified retirees can collect up to 80 percent of what they took home in their best-paid years, or 100 percent if they are police or firefighters, the audit said.
September 4, 2015
I TAKE EXCEPTION to Dom Giordano's statement in his Sept. 2 column: "The pensions for teachers come from their own contributions, the school district's contributions and the contributions of the state. " The Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System was started on July 18, 1917. It was solvent during the Depression and many recessions since. It was always solvent and flourishing because the state, the school districts and the school employees deposited their appropriate share into the pension fund.
July 18, 2015 |
The city's fiscal overseer, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, approved Mayor Nutter's final five-year spending plan Thursday, despite concerns raised by the city controller that Philadelphia's government could be facing significant deficits by 2017. The five-member PICA board followed the guidance of the agency's executive staff, which issued a 110-page report explaining why the plan should be approved. Among its points: Previous budgets have shown that the city's revenue projections are "realistic," and tax collection rates have been higher than expected.
July 1, 2015
ISSUE | OBAMA Fait accompli rule President Obama's strategy to dominate Congress and the courts is to get an agenda item rolling by any means, knowing it will be difficult to stop. Examples include: passing Obamacare by changing Senate rules, after which the threat of extreme medical-insurance disruption influences the Supreme Court to allow it to continue; suspending border enforcement, scattering refugee children, and then arguing that returning them would overwhelm the system; and proposing legal status for illegal aliens, knowing that once it's in effect, it will be increasingly hard for the courts or Republicans to reverse.
June 27, 2015 |
The SEPTA board on Thursday approved, without discussion, changes to the pension plan for SEPTA's 1,800 nonunion workers. The changes will require management and administrative employees, who now pay 1 percent of theirannual salary toward their pension fund, to contribute 2.5 percent starting in December and 3.5 percent starting in December 2016. Also, the formula for determining the pension pay-out will be changed, to increase the value of a future pension for employees who remain with SEPTA for many years.
June 26, 2015 |
SEPTA managers and other nonunion employees will be required to pay more toward their pensions, and managers hired in the future will be offered smaller pensions, under a plan expected to be approved Thursday by the SEPTA board. About 1,800 supervisory, administrative, and management employees will be affected by the changes, designed to improve the "long-term financial stability" of the transit agency's pension plan, SEPTA officials said Wednesday. The move is the latest by a public employer to reduce pension costs and shift more of the expense to employees and away from taxpayers.
June 24, 2015
ISSUE | SCHOOL FUNDING All fall down on job Although I share the view that it's City Council's responsibility to provide adequate and consistent funding for Philadelphia schools, more attention should be given to the state legislature's role in creating the problems the School District faces ("Indecent proposal," June 17). Since the late 1990s, the legislature has ducked its responsibility for adequately funding the pension fund it created and manages. To correct this oversight, the legislature has passed the responsibility for addressing pension fund obligations to local districts - which in turn have had to dramatically increase taxes and/or reduce operating costs and programs.