Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Name:
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Friday, April 22, 2005

Concerns about State Retirement Systems: April 2005

Comments I made as a Member of the House State Affairs Committee on the Senate PERS/STRS SB141 (Public Retirement System/State Teachers Retirement System).
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Mr. Chairman:

I have some serious concerns about the speed at which this SB141 bill is moving. We’ve heard hours of testimony from the administration on this bill, but very little until this evening from state working folks, and those that represent them.

I’m concerned about the recruitment and retaining quality state employees. I’m concerned about the possibility of a widow of a police officer left out in the cold. I’m concerned about folks who could outlive their retirement. I’m concerned about increased costs to current employees.

I did have concerns about the composition of the PERS and STRS Boards, because it gave too weight to the administration. We fixed that with my amendment, and I thank the committee for that. I also had concerns that PERS/STRS membership didn’t have a chance to vote on some of the trustees, and I got that fixed with another amendment. Another amendment I supported, stopped any changes to contributions of current PERS/STRS members, and that’s only fair.

The fact is, there needs to be, there must be, a balancing act between PERS/STRS members and the public purse. If the state goes bankrupt, no one gets retirement benefits.

I also have concerns about a “rush to judgment” but, as another Rep. Kelly said, another 5500 state employees will come into he system this next year.

I was sent to the legislature to make tough decisions, and this is one of them. Because, and only because, of the beneficial amendments we passed on the Board composition, and not changing current contributions, I’ll go along with letting this bill out of the State Affairs Committee, but I reserve judgment on any future votes.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kenn said...

This legislation suffers from A.D.D.: Actuarial Distortion Disorder. This is a highly complex macroeconomic socio-political problem that our country's brightest economists are struggling with. It is a problem so crucial to the vital interests of the state and so systemic that it would be best to seek the advise of one or more economic think tanks.

The push to privatize public pensions by simplistic conversion to DC plans has been fueled by an unreasonable level of fear brought on by presenting it like a utility bill that has gone unpaid or underpaid for 45 years but is now due and payable in full or the lights will be turned off. That is simply not the case. The real pressure to do away with Public Pensions and Social Security as we know them comes from the extreme right, from Libertarian organizations like the CATO Institute promoted through heavy financial backing by large corporate donors.

Many of the current projections are based on faulty assumptions or short-term anomolies. One of those is looking back on a period with one of the longest bear markets in history. The methodology and assumptions used to express the projected liabilities can cause it to be overstated by as much as 40%. Inadequate weight is given to economic growth, the further growth of population and the possible growth of government itself (even if this idea is repugnant to some, it is highly likely and statistically relevent). Evaluation of the projected liability in terms of real risks and in comparison to the combined asset value of all of the participant entities in the system would be included in a prudent evaluation of the problem. The sky is not falling. Much more work needs to be done before comitting to a specific course of action.

Retirement-eligible State Employee with over 30 years, but still serving...
"...in the best interest of the State."

12:12 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

This Bill is horribly thought out. What are you expecting to accomplish? It does nothing to solve the funding problem which is most due to escalating Health costs not pensions.

Plus, the state already has a contributed benefit plan, the SBS program instead of Social Security. And it crashed dramatically in 2000.

Could you retire on your SBS fund Alone?

What a dumb bill, who is the idiot that thought this one up?

2:03 PM  

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