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Public employee pensions are taxpayers' nightmare

Associated Press • Feb 19, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Excerpt from the Across the State editorial in today's Register: The state of Ohio faces a gap of $77 billion between what it owes to its five public pension plans and what it has funded. That’s more than the gross domestic product of Panama.

The mounting pension liabilities are putting pressure on municipal budgets that are already strained. These pension gaps will continue to be a threat to taxpayers unless legislators summon the will to make more substantial changes.

Click here for the e*Paper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you to read about Monday's police manhunt for an ex-con turned fugitive and his 48-hour crime spree. 

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Some experts, including the Pew Center on the States, point to Rhode Island’s reforms as a possible model.

Rhode Island suspended cost-of-living raises for retirees until the system is fully funded (that could be decades); raised the retirement age for all workers to be in line with Social Security’s guidelines; and created a hybrid traditional-401(k) style plan for current employees, not just new hires. 

Legislators need to work up the political courage to take the next step, rationalizing benefits for current workers, before the pension gap saddles future generations with unsolvable financial problems.

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Click here for the e*Paper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you for the rest of this Cincinnati Enquirer editorial and to read about Monday's police manhunt for an ex-con turned fugitive and his 48-hour crime spree. 

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