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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.
NEWS
February 12, 2015 | Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sometime as early as April, Philadelphia's beleaguered pension fund will begin sending out $62 million in bonus checks to retirees. It will do so despite being woefully underfunded - it has less than 48 percent of its $10 billion in obligations - and sucking up an ever-growing portion of the city's overall revenue. It is required to make the payments as a result of legislation championed eight years ago by then-City Councilman James F. Kenney, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in the May primary.
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
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 20, 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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NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
SPARTA, N.J. - Between forays to the presidential testing grounds of New Hampshire, Gov. Christie on Thursday picked up his New Jersey pension battle where he left it off, debating a retired teacher at a town-hall-style meeting. The Republican governor, who argues that the state can no longer afford its public-worker pension system without changes, presented what he said were the only options for fully funding it: large hikes in the sales tax or in the income tax for every New Jerseyan.
NEWS
May 9, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced legislation Thursday that would raise the marginal tax rate on income above $1 million, a measure he said would help fund the pension system, but one that almost certainly will be vetoed by Gov. Christie. Sweeney (D., Gloucester) also proposed increasing a tax credit for the poor. Christie, a Republican, cut that credit in 2010 amid a budget shortfall. "No one likes to increase any tax," Sweeney said in a statement, "and it would not be necessary to do so if New Jersey did not rank near the bottom in economic, revenue, and job growth under the Christie administration.
NEWS
May 8, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - The Christie administration on Wednesday told the New Jersey Supreme Court that granting public workers a contractual right to pension funding would violate the state constitution and place a "fiscal stranglehold on the state in perpetuity. " Hearing oral arguments in Gov. Christie's appeal of a ruling that he violated his own pension law, the justices wrestled with questions over the separation of powers and budget priorities. The case revolves around how to interpret a 2011 law that Christie and others said was designed to shore up New Jersey's chronically underfunded pension system by requiring both the state and public workers to contribute more money.
NEWS
April 30, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - New Jersey's top elected Democrat on Tuesday accused Gov. Christie of ignoring the state's slow economic recovery, suggesting the governor's presidential ambitions were impeding progress at home. "He needs to be back here with a plan on what we're going to do to fix this place, 'cause you can't fix it when you're not here," Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said at a Statehouse news conference late in the day. "You don't fix anything when you can't look anybody in the eye. I get his ambitions, but he's the governor of the state of New Jersey, and enough of the blaming.
NEWS
April 29, 2015 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Gov. Christie, whose approval ratings in New Jersey have hit new lows as he eyes a run for president, said Monday a media battering was partly responsible for the declines. Appearing on NJ101.5 radio's Ask the Governor program, Christie said he was unconcerned about his approval ratings, which have sunk to the 30s in some polls, declines that began after the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal broke in January 2014. "If you're going to have relentlessly negative coverage from the media, it's going to affect your poll numbers," Christie said.
NEWS
April 27, 2015 | Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
With less than a month before the May 19 primary, the six Democrats running for mayor have yet to talk about the $5.7 billion dark cloud that threatens to snuff out their campaign promises of universal prekindergarten, cuts in the wage tax, and other costly pledges. That cloud looming over the candidates' plans, the city's unfunded pension liability, has been there for decades, and it grows with every passing year. "The municipal pension crisis - and it is a crisis - is the No. 1 issue for the future of the city," said Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, who served as chief of staff to Ed Rendell when Rendell was mayor.
NEWS
April 25, 2015 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
CEDAR GROVE, N.J. - Gov. Christie promoted his willingness to cross partisan divides at a town-hall meeting Thursday, two days after the state's largest teachers' union announced that it no longer would negotiate with a commission he formed to overhaul New Jersey's pension system. But after his introduction by Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo - a Democratic power broker who has been an ally - the Republican governor laid into Democratic legislative leaders, who this week joined a lawsuit by public-sector unions trying to compel the state to make a larger payment into the system.
NEWS
April 23, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - In a setback to Gov. Christie's proposal to overhaul New Jersey's pension and health benefit systems, the state's largest teachers' union on Tuesday said it would no longer participate in talks with a panel he appointed to tackle the funding crisis. The announcement came two weeks before the state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by public-sector unions seeking a full contribution to the pension system for the fiscal year that ends June 30. Christie's office on Tuesday mounted a social-media campaign to rally support for the governor's plan and criticize Democrats who are backing the unions in court.
NEWS
April 23, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - Gov. Christie is pushing back against the Legislature's Democratic leadership in a dispute over funding of the pension system, arguing that their support of unions seeking bigger pension contributions amounts to an endorsement of raising taxes. In response to a decision by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D., Hudson) to file an amicus brief in support of the unions' lawsuit, Christie's office on Tuesday accused the Democrats of using "fairy tale rhetoric" in calling for bigger payments.
NEWS
April 19, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman and Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writers
Analysts at Moody's Investors Service have again downgraded New Jersey's general obligation bonds, marking the third time the ratings agency has taken such action since Gov. Christie took office in 2010. Moody's late Thursday downgraded the state's debt to A2 from A1, and has threatened to cut the rating yet again. The state already was rated second-worst in the nation, with only Illinois lower. Both states face large pension obligations they have failed to adequately fund. Unless New Jersey cuts pension spending or boosts pension funding, Moody's says, it expects the state pension system to run out of money in the next nine to 12 years.
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