Printing Money Proposed to Save Public Pensions

An article in Barron's proposes using modern monetary theory to solve the issue of underfunded state public pensions. An article by  Randall W. Forsyth in Barron's describes how public sector finances lag, despite recovery in home prices since the recession. State and local pensions have $8.8 trillion of liabilities, of which only 52% is funded after a decadelong bull market. Falling interest rates have been a major propellant of higher asset prices, but also have…

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Maryland Gets a “D” for Fiscal Health
Maryland's fiscal condition (Truth in Accounting)
Maryland Gets a “D” for Fiscal Health

In its 2019 study on state fiscal rankings, Truth in Accounting (TIA) found that Maryland's debts outweigh its revenues by $33.5 billion — or $12,500 per taxpayer, earning it a “D” grade from the non-profit government finance watchdog group.   The analysis is part of the tenth annual State of the States (FSOS) report, a comprehensive study of the fiscal health of all 50 states based on FY 2018 comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs). In the report, TIA…

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Article Suggests Certain Investments for Public, Church Pensions

As described in an article in Chief Investment Officer, public pensions and church pensions face similar difficulties and might benefit from similar investment models. A white paper written by Rivera and Mercantile Managing Director Thomas Cassara suggests managing volatility and avoiding drastic underfunding. According to Cassara, an ideal investment strategy for these plans needs to address two key objectives. One is to improve the funded status of the plan while managing the ups and downs…

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Phoenix Voters Nix Plan to Cap Spending, Divert Savings Toward Pensions

Voters in Phoenix, Arizona last week rejected Proposition 106, a ballot measure that would have imposed strict limits on city spending and earmarked revenue over the budget limit to paying down underfunded pension plans that cover retired city employees. According to the City of Phoenix, only 33.2% of voters supported the plan, while 66.8% voted against it. The initiative would have amended the city charter to add the following provisions: Pension and retirement healthcare liabilities and…

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Summer Reader? Grab a MACo Classic from the Archives.

In addition to weekly updates on happenings in Maryland's counties and an ever-shifting set of policy areas, during the break from the legislative session, MACo's blog regularly features several deep-dive research series on topics of perennial importance to county governments.  Over the years, the contributors to MACo's blog have assembled the following series. Whether you are catching up on your reading this summer, or simply need something to help you fall asleep at night, you…

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The Conversation on State Pension Funding and Policy Continues

There is a continuing public discourse regarding Maryland's public pension system. About half of Maryland's counties participate in Maryland's public pension system, meaning county employers are members of the System and county governments provide the System with contributions for those employees. Since 2012, all Maryland counties also share in the funding responsibility for Maryland's teacher pensions, one of the plans within the Maryland public pension system. This article excerpts from letters to the editor published…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on pensions issues in the 2019 General Assembly.  Half of Maryland's counties participate in the State's pension system, and the other half support their employees through local pension systems. MACo's pension advocacy includes defending local authority to define the elements of county-run pension systems, and protecting the interests of county governments participating in the State's pension system. Follow links below for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  MACo opposed legislation…

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Live Long and Prosper. . . from Your Government Pension

A policy analyst at the Reason Foundation describes how longevity in the public workforce, if not factored into cost predictions, can create difficulties for local government pension plans.  A recent study found that workers in certain government professions, especially teachers, tend to live longer than those retired from the private sector or the general public. Local governments that support pensions for those government employees, therefore, need to ensure that they are using updated mortality projections…

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2019 Legislative Handbook Series – An Indispensable Reference

The Department of Legislative Services has released its quadrennial Legislative Handbook Series, a deep and useful reference series that encapsulates nearly every issue of government at the state and local level. The series may be downloaded or viewed online for free at the links below: Legislative Handbook Series: Vol 1 – Legislators Handbook Vol 2 – Government Services Vol 3 – Revenue Structure Vol 4 – Budget Process Vol 5 – Personnel, Pensions & Procurement…

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Preview the 2019 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in the year ahead – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services, the 2019 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population.…

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