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Pension System

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NEWS
March 11, 2013 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Third in an occasional series. The biggest item in Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's yearly budget request to City Council this week won't be for police, prisons, or parks. It will be for more than $500 million to stoke Philadelphia's pension system, which pays retirement checks to ex-city workers and their survivors. That pension tab will eat nearly $1 of every $5 the city raises from real estate, wage, business, and sales taxes. That's up from $1 of every $16 a decade ago, noted city Finance Director Rob Dubow.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2005 | By Bob Fernandez INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Proposed changes to the federal pension-insurance system would go a long way toward warding off crisis and avoiding an eventual taxpayer bailout. But the cost of the changes could threaten businesses' ability to offer the very defined-benefit pensions that the proposals are meant to protect. And the Bush administration's proposed changes - introduced in January - have run into broad opposition from corporate lobbying groups and unions. They say changes should be made, but the current proposals could lead to lower pension benefits and overburden weak companies.
BUSINESS
August 16, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
New Jersey's generous but underfunded public pension system bought billions of dollars' worth of hedge funds in the years after other states began having second thoughts about the risky, high-fee funds. Now it's getting out, also late. Pennsylvania invested billions and laid out hundreds of millions of dollars for hedge-fund fees, starting in the early 2000s. It was a hedge-fund pioneer. "I was open-minded," then-state workers' pension system (SERS) chairman Nicholas Maiale recalled, when he stepped down from the job after Gov. Tom Corbett declined to reappoint him in 2013.
BUSINESS
June 7, 2014 | By Erin Arvedlund, Inquirer Staff Writer
The City of Philadelphia's pension system hired some new money managers at its regular board of trustees meeting Tuesday, awarding mandates to a number of investment firms, some known locally and others nationally. Pending completion of their contracts, the Board of Pensions and Retirement awarded new mandates to the following active managers in fixed-income, and domestic- and international-equity sectors: In domestic equity (small, mid-, and large capitalization), Brandywine, Lyrical, Hahn, Herndon, GW, and Apex received commitments of money from the city.
NEWS
March 20, 1986 | By Vernon Loeb, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Mayor Goode delivers his annual budget address this morning, he probably will not even mention the city's pension system. It is, after all, one of those fixed costs of doing business, like heating bills and health insurance. But the pension system is expensive - it has cost the city $157 million this fiscal year, close to 10 percent of the entire operating budget. And the pension benefits are generous - among the best money can buy. Simply put, the city spends more than half of all the real estate taxes it collects every year covering the cost of its pension system.
NEWS
February 21, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
WASHINGTON - Gov. Christie said Thursday that he had worked to make New Jersey more affordable during his tenure but warned that growing costs of retiree benefits were crowding out spending for services such as education and health care. Christie's speech came as he prepares to deliver his annual budget address Tuesday to the Democratic-controlled Legislature. "We will continue to resist a tax system in New Jersey which is unfair to our citizens," Christie said at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.
NEWS
June 12, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Tackle the state's pension problem. Then we'll talk. So said Gov. Corbett in a message to legislators Tuesday, laying out a road map of how he expects budget talks to proceed over the next few weeks. In a brief interview with reporters, Corbett said that if the GOP-controlled legislature moves on a bill to change the state's pension system for future state and school employees, he will consider tax-increase proposals to plug the budget gap. Sluggish tax collections have left Corbett's $29.4 billion proposed budget out of balance by at least $1.2 billion.
NEWS
October 17, 1986 | By BOB WARNER, Daily News Staff Writer
A bill to create a two-tiered city pension system - with reduced benefits for new city workers hired from 1987 on - was proposed yesterday by the Goode administration. The measure would bring Philadelphia into compliance with a new state law designed to provide more solid financing for municipal pension systems throughout the state. City officials were unable to provide any specific projections on the financial impact of the proposal, citing uncertainty over the number of future city employees, future salary levels and other variables.
NEWS
January 4, 2010 | By Thomas J. Gentzel
Dec. 11 began what could be a catastrophic era for Pennsylvania taxpayers. The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) voted to increase the employer contribution rate to 8.22 percent of payroll for 2010-11, a 72 percent increase from this year's rate. Those percentages will continue to climb, reaching a projected rate of near 30 percent of payroll by 2012-13 and are estimated to remain above 20 percent for nearly two decades. How much will school property tax bills increase to fund this unsustainable expense?
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BUSINESS
August 16, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
New Jersey's generous but underfunded public pension system bought billions of dollars' worth of hedge funds in the years after other states began having second thoughts about the risky, high-fee funds. Now it's getting out, also late. Pennsylvania invested billions and laid out hundreds of millions of dollars for hedge-fund fees, starting in the early 2000s. It was a hedge-fund pioneer. "I was open-minded," then-state workers' pension system (SERS) chairman Nicholas Maiale recalled, when he stepped down from the job after Gov. Tom Corbett declined to reappoint him in 2013.
NEWS
August 15, 2016
Dan White is a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester and an adviser on pensions to the National League of Cities In the back-and-forth drama of Pennsylvania's budget woes, nothing has been more ever-present than pension reform. The compromises involved in true reform have put the concept out of reach for several years, but now the legislature and Gov. Wolf have put an ambitious emphasis on reform for the fall. This is laudable, long overdue, and essential for getting us back on a more sustainable budget track.
NEWS
August 10, 2016 | By Maddie Hanna, TRENTON BUREAU
New Jersey's powerful teachers' union vowed to retaliate against the state's top elected Democrat on Monday as a deadline to put a question on November's ballot that would make state payments into the pension system a constitutional requirement passed without action. At a protest outside the Statehouse, New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer faulted Senate President Stephen Sweeney - a Gloucester County Democrat expected to run for governor in 2017 - for not posting the amendment for a vote.
NEWS
August 6, 2016 | By Maddie Hanna, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - Without a resolution to a transportation funding stalemate, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Thursday that he remained opposed to calling a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to make bigger payments into its pension system. Sweeney (D., Gloucester) did not explicitly rule out posting the amendment Monday - the deadline for a vote on the measure, which public-sector unions are calling for, to get on the November ballot. But Sweeney said he would not support the amendment before reaching a deal to replenish the depleted Transportation Trust Fund.
BUSINESS
July 28, 2016 | By Erin Arvedlund, Staff Writer
Take pension money and invest it in local projects that produce a guaranteed return, such as a toll road. That was one of the ideas suggested by former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to fix the sorry state of public pensions nationally. Those in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were the nation's worst funded last year. "There are opportunities we've yet to realize, such as having our pension funds invest in local, sustainable projects with a double bottom line," said O'Malley, one of the few politicians to reverse a state's pension deficit.
NEWS
July 27, 2016 | By Karen Langley, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - State examiners will launch a fresh look at the pension systems that manage about $78 billion in assets for hundreds of thousands of public employees and retirees, the state's top auditor said Monday. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told reporters that he is particularly interested in fees paid to outside investment managers. "We're paying them a lot of money," DePasquale said in a conference call. "What are we getting in return?" He announced the planned audits days after federal prosecutors filed false-statement charges against former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer and fraud counts against a Philadelphia-area businessman, Richard Ireland, over contracts he arranged for the management of state money.
NEWS
July 3, 2016
A former Camden firefighter was sentenced to seven years in prison Friday for collecting $82,488 from a disability pension, which the state revoked after learning he had competed in a mixed martial arts tournament and was teaching jiu jitsu classes several times a week, authorities said. Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley ordered that Shane B. Streater, 41, of Camden, give back the full amount to the pension system. Streater had been found guilty of theft by deception. Authorities said Streater received a disability pension in 2010 - the same year, investigators later discovered, he had received a black belt in jiu jitsu - after he alleged he was injured when a car struck a fire truck he was riding.
NEWS
June 29, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - The New Jersey Legislature on Monday sent Gov. Christie a $34.8 billion budget that for the first time in recent years attracted several votes from Republican legislators. The Democratic-controlled Legislature's budget, up $1 billion from the appropriations bill Christie signed into law a year ago, includes the same amount of spending the Republican governor recommended in his February proposal. The Senate voted, 28-11, with five Republican votes, to pass the measure, and the Assembly voted in favor, 50-27, late Monday.
NEWS
June 25, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday advanced a budget that closely tracks Gov. Christie's spending proposal, though the majority of Democrats offered tweaks for safety-net programs and other favorite initiatives. Separately, a bipartisan plan to more than double the state's gas tax to help fund New Jersey's empty transportation fund also moved forward. That legislative package also includes various tax cuts, including a four-year phaseout of the levy imposed on certain estates of the deceased.
NEWS
June 21, 2016
BEWARE OF anything that has the word "reform" attached to it. A case in point are the bills being passed nearly every day in Harrisburg, now that the icy relationship between Gov. Wolf and the Republican-led legislature has thawed a bit. One is a bill to reform the state's pensions systems for state and school employees. Both funds are suffering from long-range deficit - to the tune of nearly $63 billion. There has been a big push (among Republicans mostly) to do away with the state's current pension system - which bases pension on years served and final salary, multiplying the two to create what is called a defined-benefit pension.
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