State pensions threaten to bleed states dry


Return To Article
  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    June 17, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    I guess nationally this is an issue? Utah went to a defined contributuon system for public employees other than its politicians years ago (They, of course, kept defined benefits for themselves). Utah public employees only get back what they put in, no different than the private sector. I am not sure what the author's angle is here?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 17, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    It won't just be the tax payers of California, Illinois, etc, that get to pay higher taxes when they default. It will be the tax payers in ALL States that get to pay to bail them out (because there is no doubt the Federal Government will bail them out when the time comes).

    So we can't sit here smug in our knowledge that Utah isn't in the predicament California is in... we are all in it together.

    The Federal Government has indicated that when the time comes they will save California from itself. And the only place the Federal Government can go to get that money is the States that are well managed, States that have a balanced budget amendment and aren't in a position to default and go bankrupt because politicians keep promising more and more social programs and benefits to State employees to insure they keep getting re-elected, knowing the money isn't there, but they can keep borrowing... and other States will be there to save them when they run out of money to keep mutually assured economic destruction from hitting ALL of the United States if one defaults.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 17, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    The problem with going to the defined contribution route is that 401K fees, compounded, can take up to 2/3 of the money made in those funds. Frontline had an excellent program about how the 401K funds do little more than enrich the banks while the person who owns the money holds all the risk. It can be watched on Frontline's web site.
    Utah did put an end to their pensions so once employees hired prior to 2011 retire, there will be no need to fund it any further.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 17, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    States made a contract with their employees, most of whom sacrificed better paying jobs in order to go into public service. If they choose not to honor those contracts, they are deadbeats pure and simple--and the taxpayers are implicated too.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 17, 2013 3:57 p.m.

    Irony Guy is correct. The contract should be honored. Those employees worked those years under these terms. It would have been better probably to increase the salary of these people and reduced benefits but the state governments thought it would be better to go the other way around. I would say if these state governments didn't honor these contracts and pensions, not only would be morally wrong but criminal. All new employees know the ground rules (and by the way it will be hard to attract to quality employees to these positions as time goes on), but again to change the rules of those employed prior, is wrong, pure and simple.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 17, 2013 5:15 p.m.

    I have been hearing about the pension issue for at least two if not three decades.

    Taxpayers and politicians should have been paying attention. But easier to put it off until tomorrow and lie to your employees about their salary and benefits.

    First, no the Federal Govt. should not step in to save states.

    Second, states need to make good on their promises to the extent possible and put in place reasonable reforms for the future. That will mean paying more in salaries to make up for the smaller benefit package.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    Yes, by all means, let's again rescue Wall Street by throwing even more middle class people into poverty.

    Those people who worked for 30+ years are expecting their retirement benefits plans to be honored? What a bunch of "takers!"

    Won't someone please think of the banks!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 18, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    I am enjoying a near 8% return on my 401(k) - even after the disaster caused by the barney frank induced housing bubble.

    There are funds that can be abusive, as you say were described in the Frontline story, but ALL funds are required to disclose their fees and past performance. If you get stuck with a bad fund, maybe it's because you didn't bother to read the mandated disclosures. There are also numerous fund rating sservices you can access. there is too much information out there for someone who spends even the smallest amount of effort to get stuck with a bad one.

    what on earth are you talking about? Who said ANYTHING about rescuing bankers? WHO?

    It is interesting to note that one of the main reasons a number of cities and towns across the country are declaring bankruptcy is to get out of the onerous pension obligations they have hanging over their heads. They have so much in pension liabilities they cannot provide normal municipal services or hire replacement workers. The pension liabilities are one of the main obligaitons they unload in bankruptcy.

    it would not be surprising if states followed suit.