The States Are Concealing Teacher Pension Costs of ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!

April 13, 2010

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

A new study by Josh Barro and Stuart Buck, co-sponsored by the Foundation for Educational Choice and the Manhattan Institute, finds that states have total teacher pension liabilities of ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!

These days that doesn’t sound like much, does it? We’re getting to the point where raising an alarm about ONE TRILLION DOLLARS is a little like holding the world to ransom for a measly million.

But check out some other points from the study:

  • These teacher pension liabilities are systematically concealed from the public. The states claim they’re on the hook for “only” $332 billion.
  • Not surprisingly, these concealed liabilities aren’t properly funded. Every pension fund is in shortfall – California alone by $100 billion.
  • The funding shortfalls aren’t trivial. The five worst states (by percentage) are less than 40 percent funded. Only five plans in the whole country are 75 percent funded.

The logic is simple: extravegant teacher pension promises cost nothing to make, and the people who make the promises will mostly have moved on to other things by the time the gigantic costs come due. The due date can be held off by dishonest accounting – you don’t need to put a trillion dollars into the pension fund if you just pretend you don’t owe a trillion dollars. When the chickens come home to roost, those in power can shrug their shoulders and blame the irresponsibility of previous administrations. And where will the guilty parties be by then?

It’s the perfect crime.


Double Dipping

August 4, 2009

At a time when nearly 10% of American workers are unemployed, taxes are rising, families are tightening their belts, and the federal government has showered more than $100 billion in stimulus money on K-12 schools to avoid cuts, we are seeing a slew of newspaper articles about “double dipping” in education.  Double dipping is the practice of “retiring” from an education job and then, because of loopholes in teacher pension plans, returning to work with full pay and full pension benefits.  By doing so they can increase the money they take home by about 60%  for doing the same job (it varies across state plans and individual circumstances).  It’s a nice deal if you can get it.

A quick Google News search for double dipping teacher retirement yields the following 15 articles from 7 different states in the last month alone.  Maybe after seeing their ranks decimated by layoffs and pay-cuts reporters aren’t as eager to promote the false grievance of the starving teacher.

Contract allows one county to beat ‘double dipping’ law

Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Christopher Curry – ‎7 hours ago‎

But the School Board has grown divided over the DES of Florida contract this year, as double dipping has drawn increased scrutiny from lawmakers and the …

Pension limit lifted for working retirees

Arkansas Democrat Gazette – Andy Davis – ‎Aug 3, 2009‎

The income limit was imposed decades ago to “prevent the perception of double-dipping,” she said. But the retirement system had no way of making sure all …
The Plain Dealer – cleveland.com – ‎Aug 2, 2009‎
by The editors “Double-dipping” has been a fact of Ohio life for decades. In its purest form, the practice of letting some public workers bank both a full …

Teachers delay union negotiations

Winona Post – Cynthya Porter – ‎Jul 29, 2009‎

“You over-cut staff and now you’re really double dippingto bring them back.” After the meeting ended on that contentious note, Seeley said he was vexed by …

Vote postponed on raise for South Euclid-Lyndhurst superintendent

Sun News – cleveland.com – Ed Wittenberg – ‎Jul 29, 2009‎

Moores said the double-dipping aspect of a retire-rehire deal seems like a conflict of interest to him. “There are a lot of young, energetic teachers out …

EDITORIAL >>Taxpayers robbed again

Arkansas Leader – ‎Jul 29, 2009‎

After 30 years (now 28) of teaching, they could stop their payroll contributions to the Teacher Retirement System, and while they would not start drawing …

School Board ‘Retirees’ Pulling In $3.4 A Year

Broward New Times – Bob Norman – ‎Jul 27, 2009‎

Ricky Frey making nearly $320000 off of a popular state retirement scam for government officials that basically allows triple-dippingand opulant take home …

Teachers see retire-rehire practice end

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette – Angela Mapes Turner – ‎Jul 26

Lee educators get DROP on law’s loophole

The News-Press – ryan lengerich – ‎Jul 25, 2009‎

The so called “double dipping” has caused controversy, especially for elected officials. Appraiser Ken Wilkinson took all December off, just a month after …

Saturday special: Double dippers

Arkansas Times – ‎Jul 25, 2009‎

For elected officials, it’s an even sweeter double-dip because they can double-count their years of service. That means their retirement pay might equal …

More on double dipping

Arkansas Times – ‎Jul 23, 2009‎

Double dipping is rampant throughout the ranks of state government — and legal. Teachers got on the train early with the T-drop retirement programs that …

Geiler lands at Providence Day

CharlotteObserver.com – Langston Wertz Jr – ‎Jul 21, 2009‎
… come back to a new job, where he could collect retirement plus a new paycheck. “I sat at home and all these thoughts about how I’d double dip,” he said. …
Silver City Sun News – Nick Mandel – ‎Jul 20, 2009‎
Or the double-dipping practice, allowing former retired state and local government employees to return to work for public-sector organizations and continue …
Examiner.com – ‎Jul 14, 2009‎
We also need to halt the seemingly endless accumulation of sick and vacation days. Double dipping needs to end, too. No rehire after retirement. …
Muncie Star Press – Joy Leiker – ‎Jul 12, 2009‎
But school officials dismiss the notion they’re double-dipping. “I think most people see it as a savings for the corporation,” said Cowan Community Schools …
(edited for typo)

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