Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Coming Municipal Pension Disaster

Everybody knows about Chicago, of course, but there are a number of cities and states with huge pension shortfalls.

Moody’s, which in 2013 began using a lower rate than governments do to calculate future liabilities, has estimated that the 25 largest U.S. public pensions alone have $2 trillion less than they need. Cincinnati and Minneapolis are among cities Moody’s has since downgraded.
The credit-rating company said in a report Friday that the shortfall in Dallas’s police and firefighters’ pension system will more than triple to $4.7 billion because of the accounting-rule shift.

Houston is mentioned elsewhere in the article as having been recently warned.

Many funds have hidden their deficits by assuming unrealistically high returns on their investments.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension, this week said it earned just 2.4 percent last fiscal year, one-third of the annual return it projects. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-biggest fund, gained 4.5 percent, compared with its 7.5 percent goal.

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