Letter of Support for Rep. Nunes' and Sen. Burr's Public Employee Pension Transparency Act
Dear Representative Nunes and Senator Burr:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I applaud you for reintroducing the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act which takes an important first step toward shining a light on the unsustainable promises that state and local governments are making to their employees.
One of the biggest problems facing state governments is the lavish pension promises that they made to public workers. For too long the country has sat blithely by and endorsed these promises without considering their consequences, or even questioning whether state and local governments are even capable of meeting them. This is immoral because it will leave future generations to pay the bill. It’s also fiscally irresponsible because it prevents state and local budgets from balancing.
Horrifically, the true cost of these public pension liabilities—currently estimated to exceed $5 trillion—is hidden from the American people. It is hidden because those making the promises do not want citizens to know the true scale of the liability, nor do they want the pension holders to know they may not receive their expected benefits. One technique used by fund managers to hide these liabilities is using unrealistic discount rates to mask the burden that future taxpayers will face.
Your legislation provides a remedy. By stating that the federal government will not bail out state and local governments that cannot keep their pension promises, your bill provides federal protection for taxpayers. By requiring transparent accounting standards and methods, it shines a light on the true cost of the hidden pension obligations. Finally, by educating the public about the problems that gigantic pensions pose, your bill promotes a national discussion about the merits of limited government.
AFP is proud to support the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act. I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity