Tag: Dean Kenderdine

$50 billion in unfunded state and local retirement benefits, study says

The money Maryland’s state and local governments have failed to set aside to fulfill pension promises made to teachers and employees has ballooned to more than $22.5 billion over the past five years, a new report has found.

But the counties that run their own pension systems are in much better shape than the state of Maryland, with the exception of Prince George’s County.

The most under-funded retirement benefits continue to be health insurance for these retirees, which amount to $28 billion for state and local governments. Only a handful of county governments have tried to sock money away.

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Legislator wants to reduce risky investments in pension fund

A legislator who has spent his career as a financial advisor and investor is seeking to force the state pension system to limit what he sees as risky investments in private equity, hedge funds and other alternative assets.

The investment managers at the State Retirement Agency told the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday that Del. Steve Schuh’s legislation, HB819, will mean lower returns on investment and less diversification for the $38 billion fund that pays for pensions for teachers and state employees.

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Legislation seeks to lower projected returns for pension system investments

Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill to cut the expected rate of return on Maryland $38 billion pension investment portfolio — a move that would effectively add billions of dollars to the state’s pension liabilities. The move to reduce what the GOP considers an unrealistic 7.75% rate to something like the corporate rate several points below that drew strong opposition from the State Retirement Agency at a hearing Tuesday.

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Bills would phase out reduced funding for pensions

For most of the last decade, Maryland has been putting less money into the pension system for state employees and public school teachers than actuaries said it should, as much as $2.4 billion less.

For years, the trustees of the pension system have been urging the legislature to phase out the “corridor” method of funding. This year the General Assembly’s Joint Pension Committee has agreed to go along, and approved a plan to phase it out over the next 10 years.

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Maryland needs more pension reform, study says

Maryland is in the same pension pickle as three-fifths of the other states, with its management of its long-term retirement obligations causing “serious concern” to the authors of a new study by the Pew Center on the States. Like 43 states facing similar problems, Maryland made substantial changes in its pension system last year. But the Pew Center report says additional reform will be needed, especially since Maryland and other states continue to short-change the recommended annual contributions to the pension system.

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Some of savings from pension cuts going to fund other programs

The House of Delegates and Maryland Senate this past week have both voted to cut pension benefits for state teachers and employees as the legislators raised contribution rates and retirement ages, ostensibly to cure a massive $18 billion underfunding of the pension system.

But millions of the savings from the reduced benefits are not going to shore up the pension plans at all, but will instead funnel money into the operating budget. This prospect has drawn fire from liberal and conservative lawmakers and the teachers union, as well as strong objections from the head of the retirement system.

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