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Governor pushes pension reform

GOP plans ‘doubling down on crazy’

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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9:00 pm

Gov. Brian Schweitzer contends that his plan for funding the state’s overdrawn pension plans can be accomplished within the decade and without raising taxes.

The pension plans currently are underfunded by about $3.4 billion over the next 30 years, but without action the liability will continue to grow, Schweitzer told the Daily Inter Lake editorial board Tuesday.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • JustUs4AllinMT posted at 10:26 pm on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

            JustUs4AllinMT Posts: 14

            Way to go Em, you write a post once and it is posted twice...oh well, you're right, this individual IS the village IDIOT. He deserves to be booted out of America and sent to Afghanistan, there this person would learn to keep a civil tongue or have it cut out...if they didn't murder them first. Roark, if you don't like it, MOVE.

          • Emily posted at 7:57 pm on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

            Emily Posts: 2

            Roark, shut the F*** up and get the hell off your damn soap box, you act as if one party is responsible for everything that has gone wrong in this Nation. Obviously, your knowledge of politics is about as long as your manhood. Congratulations, you win the boobie prize, YOU are the village idiot!

          • Al Moncrief posted at 1:12 pm on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            Al Moncrief Posts: 2


            If two contradictory positions peacefully coexist in the mind of an individual that person is schizophrenic, but is it possible for an entire organization to exhibit schizophrenia? Be the judge.

            The Colorado General Assembly has recently endorsed the following two public policy positions:

            #1 - “Colorado is in a fiscal crisis, Colorado PERA pension contracts must be breached!”
            #2 - “Colorado is not in a fiscal crisis, we are free to grant $100 million in property tax relief!”

            How is it that this glaring inconsistency is readily apparent to me, but cannot force its way into the minds of our state legislators?

            In 2000, Colorado voters amended Article X of the Colorado Constitution to allow the General Assembly, at its discretion, to exempt up to $100,000 of the value of a qualifying senior’s home from property taxation. To qualify for the tax relief, a senior must be 65 years old or older, and must have lived in his/her home for a decade or more. If tax relief is granted by the General Assembly, the state is required to reimburse Colorado local governments for any resulting loss of property tax revenue.

            Tax relief under this 2000 constitutional amendment is optional. The General Assembly is not compelled to return state revenues to taxpayers while it is in breach of its contractual pension obligations. Providing property tax relief may be laudable; however, it is a discretionary allocation of state resources. Meeting one’s contractual and moral obligations (for example, honoring pension contracts that were earned over a thirty year period) is not discretionary.

            The General Assembly may be schizophrenic, but it is not ignorant of its pension obligations. Every year Colorado PERA pension administrators hire an actuary to determine the amount of money that must be contributed to the PERA pension in order that it remain financially sound. This figure, (the “annual required contribution”) is routinely provided to the Legislature, and has been routinely ignored by the Legislature. The figure has grown to exceed a cumulative $3 billion.

            New heights of absurdity are reached when one learns that the Colorado General Assembly provides funding to pensions that ARE NOT its legal obligation, while simultaneously ignoring pension debts that ARE its legal obligation. Over the last two decades the Colorado General Assembly has pumped more than half a billion dollars into pension obligations that are not its responsibility, those of local governments (old local government fire and police pension obligations). Much of this money was sent to the local government pension plans in years during which the General Assembly ignored its own PERA annual required contributions.

            In the coming years, judges may legitimately ask “Why should the state of Colorado be permitted to breach its contractual pension obligations in years that it has provided discretionary tax relief, ignored its annual required contributions, or directed state resources to pension obligations that are not its own?”

            How can the Colorado Attorney General argue with a straight face that it is “actuarially necessary” for Colorado to breach its pension contracts, when the state is giving back tax revenue, ignoring its annual required contributions, and voluntarily paying pension obligations for other governmental entities?

            While states across the nation are enacting prospective, legal, moral pension reforms, the Colorado Legislature has adopted a retroactive pension reform bill (SB 10-001). While states across the nation are reducing their unfunded pension liabilities (albeit slowly) the Colorado General Assembly is attempting to claw back deferred pension compensation that was earned over the past thirty years.

            The Colorado General Assembly distills the political preferences of all Coloradans. Our character is reflected in their actions, by observing the Legislature we know ourselves better.

            So, who are we? The verdict is ugly. Collectively, through our elected representatives, it appears that we will commit fraud when it is financially opportune. We will construct elaborate rationalizations for outright theft. We will abandon our contractual obligations when convenient. We will be distinguished by our moral laxity.

            Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook, Visit saveperacola.com, Support the Colorado pension theft lawsuit!

          • 888111 posted at 11:41 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            888111 Posts: 541

            remember we baled the teachers fund out a couple of years ago,i say BS! when is this going to stop no accountability at all,25 mil a year from school trust lands for they're retirement,thats supposed to go to the schools,and there's no income from that cause no logging,at least not 25 mills worth.since when is they're retirement a sure thing,not in the real world,only in the libs world

          • Roark posted at 10:47 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            Roark Posts: 246

            All of these democrats that have infested this nation with their liberty eroding utopia's have been an abject disgrace and danger to liberty and reason. It's embarrassing Montana has so many of them. The KGB of the modern day. Freedom has become chic once again. Someday people will look back and think "why did I ever surrender my right to life, liberty, and happiness to these anti-life anti liberty cranks. November cannot come soon enough.

          • CCCCCC posted at 10:23 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            CCCCCC Posts: 25

            The problem with pension reform at all levels is that we're living far longer than we were when these pension systems were started and we're not working any longer. 30 years and full pension/benefits til death might have made financial sense when the average retiree was only expected to live another 10 years after retirement, but it simply doesn't work when they now live another 20 years after retirement. Simply indexing the system to the increased life expectancy would have solved all these problems, but instead the solution is to screw over the younger workers while allowing older workers to get more out of a system than they ever put in.

          • mtmama2011 posted at 7:46 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            mtmama2011 Posts: 83

            Maybe offering brand new employees certain 'benefits' as if they've been with the Govt for 16 years is happening more often than just what the City of Kalispell wants to do for their new 'manager'.

            Regardless, if the State Govt isn't managing the employee pension funds correctly, it is NOT the employees responsibility to 'fix' what they have not broken. Don't make the employee pay more and get less when other people have mismanaged the pension funds.

          • james posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            james Posts: 516

            what happened was they played the stock market even though the ones paying in did not vote for that, it was to be secure investments, another thing is hourly workers contributed at 6 to 6.5 % while salary had theirs paid for them by the govt agencies, no contubutions out of pocket, no one lost their jobs over these screw ups, why?

          • amnotacorporation posted at 1:17 am on Wed, Apr 18, 2012.

            amnotacorporation Posts: 154

            investing in toxic assets equals lunacy


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