Anti-business op-ed highlights urgency for pension reform
HARTFORD – Americans for Prosperity Connecticut is citing a recent op-ed in CTNewsJunkie as a clear demonstration of the need for pension reform. The op-ed was authored by Connecticut state employee Uri Allen who blamed the decline of traditional pensions in the private sector on “corporate greed,” “middle-aged and older men,” and generally anything she perceives as pro-business and anti-labor.
“The reality of private pensions’ decay is much less exciting than Ms. Allen suggests in her whimsical tale,” said JR Romano, AFP-CT State Director. “Over the past half-century, private companies have tapered off defined benefit pensions because the plans carry large investment risks that threaten to sink them in millions of dollars in debt.”
To stay fiscally afloat, most private sector companies switched to defined contribution savings accounts. State governments, on the other hand, have largely kept their defined benefit pension plans under legislative stagnation and union pressure. As a result, states like Connecticut owe billions of dollars in unfunded public pension liabilities.
“Although the exact number is difficult to calculate, our state currently owes between $21 billion and $49 billion in unfunded liabilities according to respective estimates by the Pew Center on the States and State Budget Solutions. Note that both of these actuarial estimates are higher than Connecticut’s nominal state debt of $20 billion,” added Romano. “Unless Connecticut restructures its public retirement system soon, thousands of government workers like Ms. Allen could lose the defined benefit pension plan she and her fellow civil servants depend on for retirement security. If Connecticut’s elected officials ignore the ad hominem attacks slung by union activists like Ms. Allen and instead roll up their sleeves to enact pension reform, our ship of state can be saved from sinking.”