September 17, 2014 |
TRENTON - The state Treasury Department has sold its stake in a venture-capital fund tied to a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate who contributed to the New Jersey Republican State Committee, Fortune reported on Monday. The State Investment Council's $15 million investment in a fund managed by General Catalyst Partners is the subject of an audit commissioned by the Treasury Department in May. Prompted by a report by the website PandoDaily, the department's chief auditor was asked to determine whether the investment had violated New Jersey's pay-to-play laws, which prohibit the department from investing in a fund whose investment managers have donated to state political parties or committees in the preceding two years.
September 2, 2014 |
Incredibly, New Jersey does not publish the multimillion-dollar fees it pays to the private investment contractors it hires to manage billions in state pension funds - unlike Pennsylvania and other states, which list those charges in annual reports and post the data online. When I asked for the list of what New Jersey has paid each investment manager since it started hiring them a few years back, the state Treasury Department spokesman at first said it wasn't public information.
August 30, 2014 |
A summer onslaught of television attack ads against his opponents has not improved the standing of Gov. Corbett in his run for a second term against Democrat Tom Wolf, according to a poll released Thursday. Wolf held a lead of 25 percentage points in the Franklin and Marshall College Poll - 49 percent to 24 percent, with 25 percent undecided. That has budged little from the college's last survey in June. Just over a quarter of respondents, or 26 percent, said Corbett had done a good enough job to earn reelection.
August 18, 2014 |
As SEPTA prepares to settle one long-running labor battle, it faces two bigger disputes that could mean a transit strike this year. In fact, a strike is "very likely," according to the president of the largest union representing SEPTA workers, Transport Workers Union Local 234. The SEPTA board will meet Monday to give board chairman Pasquale T. "Pat" Deon Sr. the authority to approve a new contract with Regional Rail electrical workers, if...
July 26, 2014 |
Given how little good news is ever reported about Philadelphia's municipal pension fund, Thursday was a red-letter day. The total fund ended the fiscal year up 15.6 percent, outperforming its benchmarks by 1.96 percent. A more narrow portfolio, managed internally, did well, too, showing an 11.97 percent return, about 3.5 percent higher than similar benchmark funds. That is, in fairness, a very small step in the right direction. The city's pension system is severely unfunded, with only about half the money it needs to pay its $5 billion in obligations to current and future retirees.
July 22, 2014 |
Philadelphia's finances are improving and are likely to continue doing so through 2019. The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) board made that optimistic determination Monday when it unanimously approved the city's five-year plan. The city's fiscal overseers cautioned, however, that various risks were still associated with the Nutter administration's long-term budget, including unresolved labor contracts, the School District's fiscal crisis, and the pension fund.
July 17, 2014 |
In a report Tuesday, Montgomery County Controller Stewart J. Greenleaf Jr. said an underfunded pension system is a blemish on the county's otherwise improving financial outlook. The county ended 2013 with an operating surplus of $6.9 million, which it used to bring the reserve fund closer to the recommended 10 percent level. But the county made only $3.4 million of its required $11 million payment to the retirement fund. Greenleaf said the county should commit to making the full required retirement payment in 2014.
June 30, 2014 |
U.S. REP. Bob Brady's dream of a Philadelphia casino to help fund the city's public schools and municipal pensions is dead. Penn National Gaming announced yesterday that it is pulling the plug on its application to build a $480 million casino at 7th Street and Packer Avenue in South Philly. "A contributing factor in our decision to withdraw our proposal was the city of Philadelphia's vocal support for a Center City casino location, despite the fact that two-thirds of the profits from our proposed casino were dedicated to the city's education and pension fund liabilities," Timothy J. Wilmott, president and CEO of Penn National Gaming, said in a company news release.
June 20, 2014 |
TRENTON - The Christie administration argued in a court brief Wednesday that its decision last month to cut the state's payment into the pension system was necessary to head off an "unprecedented and unanticipated fiscal crisis. " In response to lawsuits filed by a dozen unions that seek an order forcing New Jersey to make its full actuarially required contribution, the acting attorney general responded that court interference could set off "chaos, credit rating downgrades, and upheaval.
June 9, 2014
A $1.2 billion state revenue shortfall has added even more drama to the pandemonium that typically accompanies June budget talks in Harrisburg. This time, though, there are encouraging signs that politicians may make some long-overdue tough choices. It's probably no coincidence that most of them are up for election. They may not want to face voters after imposing even more unreasonable reductions of school funding and state services. Republican legislators are thawing to the idea of a severance tax on natural-gas drilling.