December 1, 2014 |
There are a couple of reasons the pension funds that pay retired teachers, police, elected officials, and other public servants have become more expensive for taxpayers - eating up $1 of every $6 in Philadelphia's city budget, for example. It's easy to blame the exotic, sometimes politically connected, investments in unprofitable projects and secretive far-off funds that the pensions' trustees - many of them political appointments - have too often approved. But it's probably more costly that politicians years ago fattened pension benefits but didn't set aside enough money to pay for them along the way. And they still don't.
November 1, 2014 |
It would have been just a drop in the bucket - a $418 million drop in a $5 billion bucket. But now that the proposed deal to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works has been effectively killed by City Council, officials and experts warn, the looming hole in the pension fund for the city's 65,000 employees and retirees will just keep getting deeper. That's because the Nutter administration had planned to pour $418 million of the proceeds from the sale into the pension fund, which is now underfunded by $5 billion.
October 28, 2014 |
SEPTA bus drivers, subway and trolley operators, and other transit workers voted unanimously Sunday to authorize a strike, which could take effect this year or early in 2015. The voting took place in a huge Columbus Boulevard meeting hall packed with hundreds of SEPTA union members. "There wasn't a nay in the room," said Willie Brown, president of Transport Workers Union Local 234. "Members don't want to strike, but they are willing to fight for what we need. " Among the sticking points, he said, is a disagreement between the union and management about the size of pension fund contributions.
October 28, 2014 |
No one wants a strike. "I often have no choice in the matter," said Willie Brown, 51, president of Transport Workers Local 234, the union representing SEPTA's bus drivers, subway operators, and trolley drivers. "I don't think it's a matter of if we strike," he said. "It's simply a matter of when, unfortunately. " On Sunday, union members moved a step closer to a strike, voting to allow Brown to call workers off the job - any time, and without warning. Question: You go on strike to gain benefits for workers, but do you worry that the people you are hurting most are the everyday working people who rely on transit to get to their jobs?
September 19, 2014 |
An investigation into an unsuccessful investment by the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) has "found no evidence of illegality" by Anthony Clark, the system's former chief investment officer, who persuaded the system to pump $250 million into Tiger Management Advisors as the first step in a planned hedge fund strategy. "Whether Clark intentionally misled the board by seeking to conceal Tiger's poor performance is open to question," the investigator, former acting state attorney general Walter Cohen, added in his two-page note to the board summarizing his findings.
September 18, 2014 |
TRENTON - The director of the agency that manages New Jersey's $80 billion pension fund confirmed Tuesday that the state had sold its stake in a fund managed by a venture-capital firm with ties to a prominent Massachusetts Republican, months after the investment drew scrutiny over pay-to-play concerns. The state earlier this month sold its interest, valued at $12.7 million, in General Catalyst Group VI for $14.1 million in cash to Washington University in St. Louis, the Treasury Department said.
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...