On pensions: Bram diligently goes through the quite the extensive history of the city’s pension imbroglio. The recent history at least. The longer history could legitimately go back decades. Despite the fact that would take an even longer tome than he has there now.
Bram starts out with a foil of faux ‘agreement’ mentioning me and others on the mutual acceptance of the dire state of the pension fund. How long has their been acceptance of any such thing you have to wonder? Here is a quote from not long ago which highlights where the city was at just a couple years ago on this topic. See the Trib: City Councilman Returns to Deficit Spending. The money quote:
City Budget Director Scott Kunka likened that to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater.The source of the projections being so maligned back then? and for the record it was not a new message. Anyway, the date of that quote was December 2008. When did the "fully on track" thing fade away? December 2008 is not that long ago and I will guarantee nothing structurally changed in the state of the city’s pension system between then and now… certainly nothing between then and when the city changed its mind and started to ‘agree’ that there was an imminent danger of a zero fund balance. Somewhere though the city’s tone changed 180, at least in public.
"I think that the data was inaccurate. It's quite a bit of a distortion," Kunka said. The city is legally required to fully fund the pension and is on track to do so, he said.
There is one fundamental truth: pension funding problems compound over time. The longer efforts to improve the situation have been deferred, the far worse the problem becomes. Even a decade ago, if a moderate improvement in funding for the pension system had been implemented consistently then the situation would be far less dire than it is here now. That argument is true going forward as well, but there is a point of no return in terms of what is going to happen to the pension fund assets. That may be one of the few points of agreement between me and the ICA which years ago stated clearly that and I quote from the ICA's long-time Executive Director: "At some point it's impossible to catch up". Things have only gone downhill since they made that quote. Are we still thinking that point is in the future?