per Brian Graff who has spent 25 years at ASPPA and got some recognition for it at the end of this session.
Hispanic and Black coverage in 401(k) plans is low and if this situation it does not improve private sector plans could be eliminated in favor of a government option as in Australia. States (first Oregon, then CA, and 8 others) are setting up their own plans and forcing companies to be in it if they don’t have their own plans. This is good for us in that companies do not want to give their money to states (especially in CA and NJ) so they set up their own plans that need to administered by us.
Proposal that may be effective in 2023 is requiring all companies with at least six employees in the last two years to set up a 401(k) plan with auto-enrollment at 6% going up to 10%. Pie would increase by 62 million participants (from 95 million now) and 600,000 plans (on top of 800,000 now).
The Garden State Initiative released a report on the state of New Jersey finances. You have heard it all before but what keeps being left out of these ivory tower pronouncements is the systemic corruption at all levels and in all corners of officialdom here that makes even the slightest improvement in our general fiscal situation a pipe dream. Here are some excerpts along with a few charts on the pension system, the last of which makes my point. ….. Focus on that last chart. Liabilities actually decreased over the last two years. Significantly decreased against all logic and reason. Did everybody take a pay cut? Did 30% of plan participants disappear? No. The actuaries just got told to lower liability values and like dutiful apparatchiks they complied.
Bellwether Education Partners is a “national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. [They] do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.” And making good money* doing whatever that means.
Apparently this think tank got some interns to go through official teacher pension data reported by the 50 states and the District of Columbia to come up with rankings. New Jersey was not last overall (probably on account of the ARP money that went into the pension this year) but Medium-term and Long-term New Jersey did come in last…..and by a lot.
Right now on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) website:
Status of Applications [.xls] – Coming Soon
Until those spreadsheets start popping up we have no clue as to why, by whom, and how these bailout applications are being made but, before seeing any numbers, one thing bothers me.
A footnote on that ARP website reads:
**MPRA plans can restore benefits under 26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1(e)(3) at any time, including before applying for SFA.
So why aren’t plan participants like Carol Podesta-Smallen in the MarketWatch story not having their monthly pension amounts restored to pre-MPRA levels and getting large checks to make up for past reductions? It would reduce asset values in those plans but isn’t that a good thing when applying for bailout money?
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) on July 9, 2021 announced an interim final rule implementing a new Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program for financially troubled multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.
What struck me:
It is expected that over 100 plans that would have otherwise become insolvent during the next 15 years will instead forestall insolvency as a direct result of receiving SFA. Section 9704 of ARP amends section 4005 of ERISA to establish an eighth fund for SFA from which PBGC will provide SFA to multiemployer plans under the program created by the addition of section 4262 of ERISA. The eighth fund will be credited with amounts from time to time as the Secretary of the Treasury, in conjunction with the Director of PBGC, determines appropriate, from the general fund of the Treasury Department. Transfers from the general fund to the eighth fund cannot occur after September 30, 2030. (page 6)
Unlike the financial assistance provided under section 4261 of ERISA, which is in the form of a loan and provided in periodic payments, a plan receiving SFA under section 4262 has no obligation to repay SFA, and PBGC must pay SFA in the form of a single, lump sum payment. (page 7)
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced an interim final rule implementing a new Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program for financially troubled multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.
Pertinent excerpts coming over the weekend but, for now, it looks like the bailout number moved from $86 billion to $94 billion per the PBGC press release:
Jobs as judges, prosecutors, and municipal business administrators are the crock of gold at the end of a politician’s rainbow here and with bailouts, unlimited debt, and an apathetic tax base ripe for plucking politicians have an opportunity to sweeten the pots. According to politicoNJ that is exactly what they are planning on doing with five bills (one already enacted).
A4313: transfers Administrative Law Judges from the Defined Contribution Retirement Program to the Public Employees’ Retirement System. The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimates that this bill will lead to annual State cost increases resulting from the transfer of Administrative Law Judges from the Defined Contribution Retirement Program to the Public Employees’ Retirement System. The first-year cost could approximate $2million.In subsequent fiscal years, the annual State cost will grow as a function of increases in judges’ salaries and other economic factors. The bill may also make Administrative Law Judges eligible for healthcare benefit sat retirement that are not available in the Defined Contribution Retirement Program.
S3197: Clarifies eligibility for deferred retirement for certain judges in JRS. PoliticoNJ guessed at who could benefit:
The bill appears to have been written with Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone in mind, as she otherwise would have to leave the prosecutor’s position when she reaches the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 in 2024 in order to collect her judicial pension. It also could potentially apply to Judge William Daniel, whom Murphy nominated last week as the next Union County prosecutor.
Clearly, we need to do everything we can to cut the cost of our annual pension payments at both the state and local levels in order to continue to guarantee the retirement payments our retirees have earned and to reduce the unfunded liability that is such a burden to taxpayers.
That is why we have developed legislation to enable our state and local pension systems to add revenue-generating assets like water and sewage treatment systems, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, parking facilities and real estate to provide new, diversified sources of revenue for their investment portfolios.
According to the EMMA website New Jersey borrowed another $400 million last week for which they had to provide an Official Statement which included 20 pages on the situation with public pensions and benefits. Excerpts follow.
The contribution of the Lottery Enterprise is valued as of June 30, 2020 at $12.569 billion, based on a 30-year straight line amortization. However, the first reevaluation of the value of the Lottery Enterprise required by LECA has not yet been performed. If the contribution of the Lottery Enterprise were not taken into consideration in calculating the funded ratio of the Pension Plans, the funded ratio of the Pension Plans as of June 30, 2020 would have been 37.6% instead of 49.8%. (page I-60)