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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Capitolwire.com thoughts on AFSCME's reponse to the pension study

No problem with state pensions ...
that's what David R. Fillman, Executive Director, Council 13, The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said in a news release issued Wednesday.

Fillman said conservative The Commonwealth Foundation's comparison of Pennsylvania's state pension funds to a ship heading toward an iceberg is all wrong.

According to Fillman, it'll be smooth sailing for the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).

"... the state's contributions will remain low until 2012," he said.

Of course between the years 2012 and 2013, the smooth sailing stops and the commonwealth will have to kick in nearly $4 billion more than it did the year before if the pension systems are to stay financially sound.

And that's only if the status quo is maintained: Relatively low state and school district contribution rates, no benefit increases for retirees, and the pension funds see at least an 8.5-percent return on their financial investments.

Another economic slowdown or a cost-of-living increase and that number gets bigger. Even with above-average investment returns for the next six years, that number will still be substantial.

Does anyone remember the movie "Titanic?"

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