The State Legislature appears close to passing a significant change in the law governing how the comptroller invests New York’s $120 billion Common Retirement Fund for state and local employees. But the bill has potentially far-reaching implications that deserve more careful consideration—and a public hearing.
Adding to the pressure created by rising Medicaid and other costs, local governments and school districts all over New York are being hammered by massive increases in pension costs for public employees.
Arnold Schwarzenegger just proposed it for California. Michigan has had it since 1997. Florida has had an optional version since 2000. It's time for New York to join the revolution and adopt the same kind of 401(k) retirement plan that is almost universal in the private sector for its future civil servants.
San Diego's $1.1 billion pension fund deficit has been blamed on deliberate underfunding of the city employees' pension system, compounded by costly benefit enhancements for city retirees. But San Diego is hardly the only government employer with a big pension headache these days.
New York’s public-pension system has become the epicenter of an influence-peddling scandal that has attracted the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the state’s attorney general.