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August 11, 2017

Comments

hollyroller@gmail.com

Obviously, the CalPers issues are not the "Wildfire" that Joe says it is.
There are very few comments regarding Friends with Benefits. (By the way, "Friends with Benefits") is a reference to casual sex.

Police, Fire, the City of Burlingame Sewage Dep't/Water Dept. Park Dept. chose to be employed by the City of Burlingame because of the CalPers Retirement benefits.
The COB Sewage, and Water Dept. work "Hand & Glove."
Would anyone feel comfortable with "The Lowest Bidder Inc?"
Running the basic infrastructure?
Stop taking everything for Granted People!
We get what we pay for.
That is why we live here.

JF

Would anyone feel comfortable with "The Lowest Bidder Inc?"
Umm, that's pretty much every gov't office building, aircraft carrier, subway car, etc.

And when the market tanks, as it inevitably will, CalPers will do what?

hollyroller@gmail.com

Hopefully live up to their Words and Contract.
FYI
CalPers is the largest retirement system in The World.
Most negative comments are based on the people who now live on SS.
CalPers is the model used when comparing SS to Calpers.
Private or Federal.
CalPers makes MONEY
The Federal Government takes Monies from SS whenever, whatever reason, deemed
appropriate.
CalPers will always take care of their members.
How do I know this.
Read CalPers Prospectus.
Read US SS Prospectus.
What say ye Hillsider?

Concerned

Arithmetic is simple for most.

This massive pension under funding is very clear and will not end well.

Our civil savants are not the cause.

Our less than honest self motivated politicians are to blame.

hollyroller@gmail.com

True.
Taking monies from Peter, to pay Paul is Political SOP.
Unfortunately, pet projects continue only to keep the "City Elder of the Day" employed.
Anyone running for a Political position these days have only a few reasons to do so...
-Ego
-Power
-Sociopathic Personality Disorder.
It sure is not for the money.
A politician could do more for the City of Burlingame as a Crossing Guard.
I am sure there are those who get into the Political Profession for good reasons. However, once in position they find out in order to provide a service, they have to compromise.
Not Good.

Lorne

Here’s the full Daily Post article which Joe references above, re: Burlingame’s pension costs and the continued strain this is having on our general fund:

http://padailypost.com/2017/07/24/city-pension-costs-to-jump/

Cassandra

I don't want to hear that our council is "surprised" by pension cost increases. Fix this thing.

Cut costs, no raises and stop this "We have to offer competitive salaries to attract the best," nonsense. Wonderful workers will apply to work here for less than competitive salaries.

Don't build a new recreation center that will need more employees. Pay off the pensions with the proposed sales tax and stop fooling with my money.

And vote for a council that isn't surprised by easy math.

Cassandra

From the Daily Journal

http://www.smdailyjournal.com/opinion/other_voices/state-pension-costs-crowd-out-basic-services/article_a9b40b02-afba-11e7-be72-8718ecaf755e.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

With this pension debacle, we end up working for the people who fix our sewers...

Steve Kassel

It's not easy math, Cassandra. In fact, everything is based upon various projections which may or may not come true. Those have to do with retirement age; age of death; salaries; number of employees; return on investment and on and on.

Bobby

I'm curious if the proposed Measure I on the ballot for Burlingame, will direct any of the tax dollars raised towards the city pension shortfall?

Or does it indirectly do so, since less and less of the city operating budget is directed towards essential services, and we need to make up for it with Measure I?

hollyroller@gmail.com

Dear C ASS ANDRA.
I have not read a more offensive comment on the Burlingame Voice ever.
Have you ever seen what those people do?
Have you ever emptied your own garbage can?
Have you ever changed a diaper?
In my opinion Cassandra, you are the most despicable person I have had the misfortune to interact with at the BV.

hollyroller@gmail.com

Another comment, if you please,
What is The City of Burlingame doing to help out the Cities to our North-50-70 miles away?
I know that our Public Works Dept. have personal, equipment-Sewage Clean Out Trucks, and Tree Trucks, and the people to use them.
The day will come when The City of Burlingame WILL need assistance.
I really hope that The City of Burlingame Manager has the ability to think of our Future. More importantly, has the compassion to comprehend the needs of our neighbors during unusually difficult Natural Disasters without being asked first.
So....
What is the City of Burlingame Manager doing to support our neighbor 2-3 hours away?

Lorne

Here is the San Mateo County Grand Jury report on local cities’ pension obligations, which was highlighted/referenced in today’s SM Daily Journal cover story. Interesting to compare data for Burlingame vs. other local municipalities:

http://www.sanmateocourt.org/documents/grand_jury/2017/city_pension.pdf

Cassandra

Fixing the pension problem and potholes should come before Rec Center.

Lorne

FYI, from today's Wall Street Journal:

Bull Market Isn’t Helping Pensions
BY HEATHER GILLERS

Maine’s public pension fund earned double-digit returns in six of the past nine years.

Yet the Maine Public Employees Retirement System is still $2.9 billion short of what it needs to afford all future benefits to all retirees.
“If the market is doing better, where’s the money?” said one of these retirees, former game warden Daniel Tourtelotte.

The same pressures Maine faces are plaguing public retirement systems around the country. The pressures are coming from a slate of problems, and the longest bull market in U.S. history has failed to solve many of them.

There is a simple reason why pensions are in such rough shape: The amount owed to retirees is accelerating faster than assets on hand to pay those future obligations. Liabilities of major U.S. public pensions are up 64% since 2007 while assets are up 30%, according to the most recent data from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

Public pension funds have to pay benefits—their liabilities. They hold assets, which grow or shrink through a combination of investment gains or losses and contributions from employers and workers. Those assets generally rose faster than liabilities for five decades starting in the 1950s because government was expanding and the number of retirees was smaller.In the 1980s and 1990s, double-digit stock and bond returns convinced governments they could afford widespread benefit increases.

But the value of their holdings— their assets—began to fall in the aftermath of the dot-com bust in the 2000s, and the 2008 financial crisis followed soon after. State and local retirement systems lost 28% in 2008 and 2009, according to the Boston College data.
“The first thing you have to do is make up what you lost,” said Sandy Matheson, executive director of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. “And it takes years. And then you have to make up what you didn’t earn on what you didn’t have. It’s a pretty steep climb.”

Cities and states set out to ramp up their yearly contributions to public pension funds as a way of making up for their investment losses.

Some were able to keep up with those payments. But others weren’t as they struggled with lower tax revenue and increased demand for government services in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. New Jersey made less than 15% of its recommended pension payment from 2009 through 2012.

It now has a little more than one-third of the cash it needs to pay future benefits— despite robust investment returns in recent years.

State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said New Jersey is on “the long road to addressing our unfunded liability after years of neglect.”

“Some of the states allowed themselves to get so underfunded that the higher returns aren’t helping them enough,” said Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy for the asset-management arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Mr. Cembalest is the author of an annual study on the financial health of cities and states.
Some states, including New York, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Dakota managed to keep assets roughly in line with liabilities through funding discipline, benefit cuts, or both.

Many states and cities reduced benefits for new employees after 2008. But deeper cuts often met resistance from judges, unions and angry constituents— even in some of the most indebted states.

The Illinois Supreme Court in 2015 threw out cuts by the legislature that were expected to save tens of billions of dollars. Kentucky’s legislature last year declined to approve the governor’s proposed cuts to cost-of-living increases for retired teachers after protests brought thousands to the state capitol and forced cancellations of classes in several school districts.

Maine, which has made more progress than many plans in addressing its
unfunded liability, did cut cost-of living increases for both retired and active state workers. They earn a median pension of $27,000 after 25 or more years’ service and don’t receive Social Security. But that cut shaved only $1.6 billion off the fund’s unfunded liability, which now stands at $2.9 billion.

Demographics became another problem as baby boomers aged. The number of pensioners jumped thanks to longer lifespans and a wave ofretirees over the past decade, while the number of active workers remained relatively stable.
Maine’s fund serves about the same number of active workers that it did in 2008—a little more than 51,000—while the number of retirees has jumped 32% to about 45,000. Many funds are experiencing the same trend.

That pattern contributes to an increasing gap between pension fund inflows and outflows— before the funds earn a dollar on investments. Maine’s pension fund paid $982 million in benefits in 2018, $394 million more than the contributions it took in.
For a plan trying to improve its funding status, that type of gap makes it harder to recover from investment losses.

Many public pension funds have benefited from the 10year-long bull market. But now many are lowering their predictions of what they can earn in the future. That accounting change makes their liabilities look even larger, portending more strain in the coming decades.
The Maine pension fund, which back in the early 1980s assumed a long-term investment return of 10%, now assumes a rate of 6.75%. If that rate were just 1 percentage point higher—where it was about 10 years ago—the projected $2.9 billion shortfall, most of which must be paid off over the next decade, would drop by more than half to $1.1 billion.

The decision to lower the rate was based on discussions with the fund’s actuarial and investment consultants and a goal of keeping costs predictable, said Ms. Matheson, the system’s executive director. “There’s also an element of better safe than sorry.”

Joe

Thanks, Lorne. You beat me too it as I was a bit depressed after reading it in the paper.......

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