How healthy are Minnesota's pensions? Depends on where you look

However current knowledge is difficult that popularity. In 2015, Minnesota’s public pensions had sufficient cash to cowl eighty % of anticipated prices. Final yr, underneath nationwide requirements, that plummeted to fifty three %. That is nearer to Illinois than to nicely-funded Iowa or South Dakota.

Native specialists say that dismal image is deceptive, nevertheless.

“We’re not among the many worst within the nation,” stated state Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, a Sartell Republican who’s a vice chair of the Legislative Fee on Pensions and Retirement. “However we’ve taken steps backwards.”

A lot of the fall got here not from losses out there or rising claims however from an accounting change: Minnesota lowered its assumptions about how a lot income it will absorb many years sooner or later. The change was pushed by requirements set by the Governmental Accounting Requirements Board, an unbiased nonprofit.

“It is actually only a change of interpretation,” stated state Sen. Sandy Pappas, a St. Paul DFLer who can also be a vice-chairman of the Legislative Fee on Pensions and Retirement.

That is to not say the pension information is sweet. Minnesota’s funds misplaced zero.1 % final yr — far under the eight to eight.5 % annual return its requirements assume. And Minnesotans live longer than as soon as assumed — excellent news for them, however greater prices for the state’s pensions.

These precise setbacks for Minnesota’s pensions helped set off the accounting modifications that seemed so dangerous.

Issues have seemed up since then. Whereas Minnesota’s pension plans misplaced zero.1 % in the course of the July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, fiscal yr, they noticed a 15 % return in 2016-17.

Minnesota’s 9 public worker pension plans have round $sixty five billion in belongings between them and canopy greater than four hundred,000 retirees and present staff of state and native governments and faculties.

Specialists: No emergency, however modifications wanted

The individuals overseeing Minnesota’s pensions is probably not panicking concerning the state’s sudden drop in its actuarial funding ratio. However they are saying modifications are wanted to shore up Minnesota’s pensions, which weren’t absolutely funded even earlier than final yr’s drop.

“General our pension funds are in good well being,” stated Erin Leonard, government director of the Minnesota State Retirement System, one among three main statewide pension plans. “We do have to make some changes.”

Plan directors and political leaders agree on the answer: passing what Pappas referred to as a “shared ache invoice” setting barely greater contributions from present staff and barely decrease payouts to…

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