The Empire State's largest public pension plan still has not fully recovered from the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008-09, a new report from the state comptroller's office confirms.
Fiscal watchdogs note many elected officials initially didn't have to worry about pension costs a decade ago. Now the rates are closely watched for what they could mean for property tax bills.
"Pretty much the entire generation of state and local elected officials took office and came into their own during a period when pension costs were artificially low or rock bottom," said Empire Center President EJ McMahon.
New York's largest public pension fund earned 2 percent in its first fiscal quarter—which isn't necessarily good or bad news for taxpayers.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli accentuates the negative in a new audit of the state’s Medicaid managed care program, faulting two participating insurers for “wasting millions of state Medicaid dollars.” But he omits two important pieces of context.
Resolutions passed by state lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session steered a total of $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, according to data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.
During the first few years after Wall Street prices bottomed out in 2009, public-pension funds across the country reaped double-digit returns. They were riding a bull market pumped up by ultra-low interest rates, and it wouldn’t last.
Now pension managers have been struggling to break even — the predictable outcome of a funding strategy that continues to expose taxpayers to unreasonable long-term risks.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli just issued a set of fiscal reform proposals designed to address the continuing lack of accountability and transparency in key areas of New York's budget. While by no means representing a fiscal panacea, they are solid ideas, deserving of broad public and legislative support.
Still betting far too heavily on the stock market, New York State's main state and local government pension fund lost money in the first half of its current fiscal year.