Tag Archives: pension reform

Time to write to the city council about these pension payments – Scott Gruendl thinks “pension reform” means making US pay MORE!

12 Dec

Hi Debbie, Council members, 

 
I was just going over the minutes for  the Finance Committee meeting I attended earlier this month. I see that one question I asked, about the cost of certain consultant reports, was included in the minutes, but not the question I asked regarding what the city pays toward the “employee share” of pension premiums. Jennifer Hennessy stated at that time, “about $7 million.” Later she sent me an e-mail correction – the actual figure was closer to $10.1 million.
 
I wonder why my question and Hennessy’s answer are not included in the minutes? I asked this question during the discussion regarding the loss of Measure J. I was trying to point out, that while the city is complaining about losing $900,000 on a failed tax measure, they spend millions paying THE EMPLOYEE SHARE of pension costs, in addition to the employer share. Our city’s financial problems would be solved if the contracts were rewritten so that the employee pays their own share. Why isn’t this option coming up in the discussion? 
 
I also notice, the police advisory board gets verbatim minutes. I wonder, why aren’t all the committee meetings, including the ad hoc meetings, recorded verbatim? 
 
I’d like this letter to be attached to the next city council agenda as a “communication.” 
 
I’d also like to thank Fritz McKinley for answering my flood notice question. 
 
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation, Juanita Sumner

CalPERS headed for a cliff?

29 Oct

From Chico News & Review 10/25/2012

“The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has made a disturbing announcement for many of its long-term-care clients.

CalPERS has proposed an 85 percent premium increase for 115,000 of its 150,000 long-term beneficiaries, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. Earlier this month, CalPERS officials were considering a 75 percent premium hike, which organization spokesperson Bill Madison called ‘a work in progress’ at the time.

The raised premiums, which would take effect in 2015 and be phased in over two years, are in anticipation of budget shortfalls in the future. Unlike its pension-benefits program, CalPERS’ long-term program is not funded by taxpayers.

‘At current course and speed, we would not have enough money … to pay anticipated claims,’ said CalPERS deputy executive officer Ann Boynton.”

I didn’t know CalPERS offered “long-term-care” insurance. What a scam. They take these premiums fully expecting you to DIE before you collect.  Read more below, from the CalPERS press site.

CalPERS site:  http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/about/press/pr-2012/oct/ltc-premium-increase.xml

Press Release

October 17, 2012

External Affairs Branch
(916) 795-3991
Robert Udall Glazier, Deputy Executive Officer
Brad Pacheco, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Bill Madison, Information Officer
pressroom@calpers.ca.gov

 

CalPERS Approves Long-Term Care Premium Increase

Three alternative plans offered to ease impact on policyholders

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration today approved an 85 percent premium increase for early purchasers of its Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance Program policies. The increase, to be spread over two years, is being implemented to help stabilize the Program’s underlying Long-Term Care Fund and will take effect July 2015. Members who opt to cover the increase in a single year will pay only 79 percent.

Policyholders affected by the increase purchased two types of policies between 1995 and 2004: policies with lifetime benefits with inflation protection, and policies with lifetime benefits without inflation protection (California Partnership policies will be excluded).

The premium increase is necessary to offset the effect of higher-than-expected claims, lower-than-expected investment income, the Board’s adoption of a more conservative LTC Fund investment mix, and a lowering of the Fund’s investment discount rate to 5.75 percent to align with the more conservative investment portfolio.

The Board also approved three new optional alternative benefit plans that will provide the affected CalPERS LTC policyholders with options for relief from the financial impact of the 2015 rate increase. These new alternatives will allow policyholders to avoid further premium increases by converting to policies that will still provide adequate protection and possibly lower their premiums.

“We took great care to listen to the concerns of our policyholder constituent groups and weighed staff proposals for these options carefully before making our decision,” said Board President Rob Feckner. “We are taking these actions to ensure the sustainability of the Long-Term Care Fund and the availability of benefits for our policyholders.”

Affected policyholders will be given the opportunity to convert their policies to these new options in the spring of 2013. The policy changes will take effect July 1, 2013. View a list of the proposed new policy conversion options (PDF, 87 KB).

“We feel the plan options we will offer our policyholders make this a win-win situation, especially for those with lifetime benefit policies,” said Priya Mathur, Chair of the Board’s Pension and Health Benefits Committee. “With the average length of stay in a care facility a little over three years, we think the 10-year conversion option will provide more than adequate coverage when our policyholders need it.”

The CalPERS Long-Term Care Program began in 1995 and currently has more than 150,000 members and approximately $3.6 billion in LTC Fund assets. The LTC Program is a voluntary, self-funded, not-for-profit program funded entirely by policyholder premiums and investment earnings.

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with approximately $243 billion in assets, providing retirement benefits to more than 1.6 million State, public school, and local public agency employees, retirees, and their families, and health benefits to more than 1.3 million members. The average CalPERS pension is $2,332 per month. The average benefit for those who retired in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, is $3,065 per month. For more information about CalPERS, visit http://www.calpers.ca.gov.        

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ### end of press release ###

There it says, “The premium increase is necessary to offset the effect of higher-than-expected claims, lower-than-expected investment income, the Board’s adoption of a more conservative LTC Fund investment mix, and a lowering of the Fund’s investment discount rate to 5.75 percent to align with the more conservative investment portfolio.”

“higher than expected claims” – that means, people are actually living to collect! How could they NOT have expected that? They sell you insurance, and then they don’t provide for you?  Again I will say, what a SCAM.

lower than expected investment income” – yes, like the pensions, they’ve gambled this fund on the stock market, and where they predicted they’d be getting somewhere between 7 and 20 percent returns, they’ve been lucky to get ONE PERCENT. They’ve lost millions.

Which led to “the Board’s adoption of a more conservative LTC Fund investment mix” – oooo, I’ll bet!

“”and a lowering of the Fund’s investment discount rate to 5.75 percent to align with the more conservative investment portfolio.” This means, CalPERS clients will pay more toward their own benefits, for the “long-term-care” coverage anyway.

http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/about/press/pr-2012/sept/discount-rate.xml

These articles are like boxes within boxes – every time I read more, I have more questions than I had before. See this link, here above – this article tells how  CalPERS got public employees to buy into this scam by offering them a “discount rate.”  Suckers – anybody who thinks they can get something for nothing deserves to be had.   How could they believe they could pay so little, and then be taken care of indefinitely in some rest home? How could they believe that the stock market, which has behaved very poorly and been outrageously volatile these last ten years, would pay consistently enough to float thousands of retirees who aren’t paying anything?

But it’s not just the employees – we, the taxpayers, are also  the suckers here. A lot of public employees get “long-term-care” paid for by their employer. I haven’t seen the city of Chico contracts – have you? I’m guessing we pay for “long-term-care,” but I’d have to see the contracts. 

This is part of the perfect pension storm. CalPERS is in trouble, they’re just trying not to let on. Right now they are hitting lower level employees, like my friend who earns less than $40,000 a year with Butte County, to pay their own “employee share.” Sounds like no big deal, huh? Well, it’s the beginning of a big deal, so watch it. The lower level county employees – “classified staff” – those making less than $50,000/yr – have been TOLD over the last year that they would be paying their own 7 percent share of their benefits. That’s the deal at the county, at the city it’s 9 percent. Then the employers pay a matching amount – 7 percent for the county, and 9 percent for the city.  I don’t know all the details perfect, but here’s the bottom line – City of Chico employees, with the exception of the fire department,  pay only a small portion toward their health benefits, and NOTHING on their pensions. 

And the other thing is, that’s only 14 and 18 percent. The rest of the pension premiums are riding on the stock market. And the market is not paying fast enough to keep up even with the pensions currently being paid out, not to mention the pensions that will be paid to our current employees. So Jerry Brown is trying to get CalPERS to raise the payments – whether the employees pay them, or WE pay them, they’re going to have to be paid. We’re talking BILLIONS in unfunded pensions.  

The problem – the giant defecating elephant – is that thousands of people  currently work for public entities, thinking they will be taken care of for life having only paid a couple thousand dollars a year toward that care. The average premium, according to Cal Pers, is $2500 a year, while the average pension benefit payment is $3200 a month. How could that possibly be sustainable? 

CalPERS convinced the public employment sector, as well as our governor and our  legislature, that they could sustain these outrageous pensions with only 14 – 18 percent of the premium being paid by the employee/employer. They promised they could make these crazy, 20 percent returns on the stock market, and our corrupt and lazy legislators gave them the go ahead to do it. 

The city of Chico does not have to remain on this road to Perdition. The contracts are being hashed over right now. Some of them are already done deals – with all the perks and benies, and even some raises! How nice! But there are still contracts on the table. We must lean on our elected leaders to make our employees pay more of their “share.” Whoever you vote for in this election, take some responsibility for them – like you would your own child. When your child does something wrong, you have to point it out, you have to tell them it won’t be tolerated – not only by you, but more importantly, not by society at large. We have to take our elected officials off to the corner too, tell them when we feel they are not doing their jobs, not listening, not taking correct action. You can tell them sweet or sour, but you should tell them. We need some sort of benefits reform HERE IN CHICO. We don’t have to continue like helpless lemmings off into the Pacific with Governor Moonbeam and his horde.