Thursday, February 17, 2011

Public Pension Bill Introduced: State and Local government organizations oppose Federal Over-Reach -by- Robyn Ekings

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday received a bill by Senator Burr (R-NC) along with Senators Coburn (R-OK), Ensign (R-NV), Grassley (R-IA), Isakson (R-GA), Kyl (R-AZ) and Thune (R-SD) that calls for additional reporting of finances by state and local public pension funds. A version of the proposal has already been introduced in the U.S. House.

Nine organizations representing state and local governments, officials, and retirement systems have declared strong opposition to S 347. The group, including the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), The United Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers says the legislation is “an unprecedented federal government over-reach into the operations of public retirement systems with regard to federal taxation and regulation of state and local governments and represents a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the operations and funding of public pensions and the strong accounting rules and strict legal constraints already in place requiring open and transparent governmental financial reporting and processes.”

The group goes on to say that state and local pension systems collectively have pre-funded nearly four-fifths of their future pension liabilities, even when accounting for the steep market losses in 2008 and earlier this decade.

They add that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that public pensions, on the whole, are financially secure and positioned to meet
their long-term pension obligations.

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