Comments about ‘Salt Lake's growing gap in pension funding may cost taxpayers’

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Published: Wednesday, July 18 2012 9:47 a.m. MDT

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Lifelong Republican
Orem, UT

There is a lot of misinformation in this article unless the retirement fund mentioned is not the same fund police, fire, and teachers are using.

The state employee retirement fund I am talking about did take a hit when the economy tanked but it has already climbed back to the level it was at pre-economic crash. I just got a newsletter about it that said as much. It is the best run retirement fund in the nation and other states are looking at how it is run in order to copy what Utah is doing.

Former senator Liljenquist took advantage of those two bad years to wipe out the retirement program for future hires. Starting in 2011, no new hires are even part of the fund. They have no retirement plan but are now having to rely on their own 401k retirement. It was a huge mistake that the voters saw through and made him pay the price this last election.

Utah is in great shape and the fund is actually earning more than it needs right now so the future looks bright indeed.

donburi
South Jordan, UT

A similar issue has practically bankrupted San Diego, though the reasons for it happening are somewhat different. It's definitely a problem and something that needs to get under control ASAP before it gets worse.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

How about making city employees cough up more for their retirement? Too many government entities fully fund the retirement system without employee contributions. Raise the amount they pay and most likely the fund will balance out. Or, cash it out and make them put their amount into a 401K.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

I work for an employer in Utah that has a pension. Their pension fund had the same issues with the stock market crash in 2008. However, they solved the issue by suspending 401K matches for a few years after 2008 and invested the money that they saved from matching 401K to the pension fund. Now, the full 401K matching is back, and the fund is solvent.

I agree with "Lifelong Republican" - suspending new employees from the fund seems harsh, and will lead to more problems. There are usually creative ways employers (and state governments) can save a pension fund if they really want to, like my current employer.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's see. The Salt Lake City government officials have put taxpayers on the hook for $5 BILLION to pay benefits that there is no money for.

But, "Though there are no serious concerns with Utah’s pension program, the system is in need of improvement."

Let me remind you that Salt Lake City is, and for some time has been, run by Liberal Democrats,

They need to cut back on spending, and fire some workers until they get to the point where they can afford what they have.

Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money to spend. California won the race to prove this, let's home that SLC drops out of the race before reaching the finish line.

Makid
Kearns, UT

I think you missed the point of the article. SLC is only looking at possible issues because they are part of the Utah Retirement system. That system is run by the state, the big GOP controlled state.

This isn't about anything that is controlled by SLC but rather the State. SLC will experience issues because of the stock market drop in 2008 and for no other reasons. Once the stock market continues to increase, the value will return.

To help others possibly understand this, the title of the article could be rewritten "Utah's growing gap in pension funding may cost taxpayers". That is more to the truth of the issue.

BBLVR
Bountiful, UT

Get rid of the double dippers, especially those in police, fire & upper mgmt.

RRB
SLC, UT

Stocktons problem was not the pension fund. Although it didn't help, their problem was being a destination for immigrants, legal and mostly illegal. Schools, police and fire services, social services, increased over 22% in several years. With the recession, they could not keep up with growth.

Same thing that has happened to other cities in California.

Dutchman
Murray, UT

Salt Lake City is part of the Utah State Retirement System, a statewide system run by the State of Utah for all public employees including teachers. It is a well managed system and according to their own newsletters and audits is in good shape and they have already made the necessary adjustments to keep it solvevant. Too bad the author of the article didn't spend the time to do some research.

thunderbolt7
DUTCH JOHN, UT

Not so fast. "Salt Lake City may need to increase taxes or cut expenses to cover an $83.6 million gap in future city employee pension costs???" I can think of other alternatives. What about 1- the city stopping contributing to employee pension funds, or 2- finance employee pension plans with employee voluntary contributions. 3- don't make taxpayers indemnify public employees for stock market risk, 4- government should not guarantee pension plan performance.
It gripes me that taxpayers indemnify public employees for market risk. If a fund manager makes risky investments, invests imprudently, or commits fraud, the taxpaying public should not cover losses. I invest my IRA money in the stock market realizing there is risk. This is part of life. Why should the privileged public worker class be treated differently?
Public employees are treated like royalty. They make more money than comparable workers in the private sector. Their pensions are guaranteed against losses. Taxpayers are on the hook for their pension plan performance. Can we change this and make public employees live like the rest of us?

USAlover
Salt Lake City, UT

This is a case study for smaller government and the eventualy chaos in Greece. They only problem is we complicate our learning and see past simple examples of why big government may create more jobs while robbing money of private citizens.

Every dollar spent by government was taken from a working American.

govt rocks
Salt Lake City, UT

DN subscriber, the article does not say SLC is in the hole 5 billion, it says the state system is 5 billion in the hole. SLC particpates in the state system, run by the most conservative group of conservatives in the country and the City's shortage is way less than their overall percentage of the populatin of the state. Seems some other government entities, including the state, have a bigger impact on this the overall state system then SLC does.. Dont blame liberals for this, they have had little input in state governemnt over the last 30-40 years.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Maybe Salt Lake City should follow the example set by the State of Wisconsin. Their other choice is to go down the same path as the California Cities of San Bernardino, Compton, and Stockton. Public pension funding has skyrocketed out of control and bankruptcy seems to be the only answer.

DR Hall
Clearfield, UT

Pensions are a necessary evil for everybody. It is nice if everybody would set aside money each payday for retirement, but retirement seems so far away at this moment and the families needs and likes are strong desires to control. This is why it is so important to have reasonable rules for all investment bankers and money handlers. People want to get rich very fast. But that is not always possible. Our Congress has been very lax in enforcing rules to please their contributors and therefore has allowed these friends to break rules and ask tax payers to cover those losses. We need reasonable improvements in pensions and steady work to allow families to succeed in life for the long term. This is not how business and congress sees it at the present time. They need to be replaced and re-educated on doing what is right.

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