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Teachers Pension, on Downward Slide, Lowers Return Assumption: Admits to $9 Billion Deficit Even with Taxpayer Cash Aid

The Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) told legislators Friday that it wanted to drop its assumed rate of return from 8.5 to 7.5 percent. TRA Executive Jay Stoffel quietly and quickly informed the pension commission that the TRA board supported the change then quickly returned to his seat. TRA is the last public fund in the entire United States to assume 8.5%. ...

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U.S. Unfunded Pension Liabilities Exceed $6 Trillion: Minnesota’s Share is at least $118.7 Billion

With every paycheck, public employees faithfully hand over a percentage of their pay, and taxpayers match or exceed that contribution. Both should be able to trust that the pension funds, and State of Minnesota, have wisely set the right contribution rates, actually paid the full contribution each year and prudently invested the funds so when retirement comes, teachers, cops and the rest of our state and municipal workforce have the pension they were promised. ...

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What Counts as a “Crisis” at the Teachers’ Pension Funds?

TRA admits to a $30.7 billion liability but only has $21.2 billion to cover those promised pensions. TRA says based on the 2017 valuation, it only has $0.69 on the dollar to pay pensions to teachers. If there are no changes, it will only have 50% of funds in 2046. TRA used 2017 numbers because the markets were up—a lot. If it uses the 2016 valuation, the fund is expected to have only 37% of the needed funds in 2046. Why isn’t this a crisis? ...

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Do teachers oppose or support forced union dues?

I have no doubt that most teachers are dedicated professionals who just want to teach—and like the mean girls we all knew in school, that it is a small minority of teachers bullying and enforcing a trade union mentality that is making teachers miserable and creating a hostile environment for the free exchange of ideas. Let’s win that basic freedom back for teachers and our schools. ...

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Employee Freedom Update: Who are Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs?

Who are Mark Janus and Rebecca Friedrichs? And why did I write about them in The Wall Street Journal today? If the Supreme Court rules in Janus’ favor, every government employee across the country will have the right to choose for himself or herself whether to give money to a union. This is equivalent to Minnesota passing a right-to-work constitutional amendment-- only better because it will be the law of land. ...

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Supreme Court agrees to hear First Amendment Case: A Victory would end Public Employee Unions’ Monopoly Power

If Janus wins, unionized public employees in non-right-to-work states like Illinois and Minnesota will be able to keep their jobs, even if they do not join or financially support the union. The result could be a significant decrease in public employee union membership, millions of dollars less revenue from dues and fees and further erosion of organized labor’s political clout at the state and national level. ...

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Meet the people who are running the teachers’ pension fund (into the ground)

If you are a young teacher or in the middle of your career, I hope you are putting money away in a 403(b). If you are retired, think about how you can help the Center get the truth to teachers. How do we talk to teachers about this vital issue so they will think critically about what TRA tells them about the health of the fund—and educate themselves on how pensions work—and do not work. ...

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Hurricane Bloomberg Hits Minnesota Pension Funds: TRA at 50% Funding or Worse

Minnesota has been violating the First Commandment of a defined pension benefit plan for years: you must put aside enough money each year to cover the benefit promised. And if you miss it one year, you had better make it up the next because once you get into a hole, it is hard to dig out even if your investments perform well. ...

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Dose of Reality for Underfunded MN Public Pensions

American Experiment has long warned taxpayers and legislators to the threat posed to taxpayers and recipients by Minnesota's underfunded public pension system. But a new Bloomberg analysis of our state public pension system might be the wake up call that cuts through the politics that prevent progress on pensions. Here's how American Experiment's Kim Crockett put it in a column for today's Star Tribune. Bloomberg has called attention to the fact that the financial stability of Minnesota pensions, relative to other states, has plummeted, and that even judged against its own standards, the system is in big trouble. The system admits to...

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Minnesota’s public-pension system is in crisis, new data shows

State's system is losing ground fast, relative to others. Here's why.  This op-ed originally appeared in the Star Tribune on Sunday, September 10, 2017. Bloomberg Markets recently released a bombshell of a story on Minnesota’s public-pension system. “New Math Deals Minnesota’s Pensions the Biggest Hit in the U.S.” It reported that “Minnesota’s debt to its workers’ retirement system has soared by $33.4 billion, or $6,000 for every resident, courtesy of accounting rules. The jump caused the finances of Minnesota’s pensions to erode more than any other state’s last year … .” Bloomberg has called attention to the fact that the financial stability of Minnesota pensions, relative...

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