Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pew Center Report Requires Response

TEXPERS today distributed a press release about the Pew Center on the States report on the condition of state employee pensions at systems around the United States. Our press release simply wanted to define that Pew focuses on state systems, which are large and have been in the news in recent years for their underfunded status.

Of course, the situation is different here in Texas, as our news release describes. And TEXPERS members, who are mostly smaller pension funds at city and county levels aren’t included in the report and for the most part are in good shape. Our news media needs to know this and I invite them to visit with me about the current environment.

In addition, you might role those DVRs tonight to see how Hank Kim, the executive director of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems, describes the Pew report on Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier. The interview should be interesting. In a press release today, NCPERS notes that:

“Relying on out-of-date data and employing faulty assumptions, the Pew researchers’ analysis is seriously flawed and, as a result, comes to misguided conclusions that dramatically overstate the financial challenges facing state pension plans. Were government policymakers to embrace Pew’s thinking, they would undoubtedly formulate equally misguided approaches to dealing with their public pension systems – approaches that might well do irreparable long-term harm to those pension funds and to the millions of public employees who are relying on those funds for their retirement security.
We’ll post the link to that and other media coverage in coming days. – Max Patterson.