Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is Walker planning to raid public employee pensions?

A new study by the Pew Center on the States reports that Wisconsin public employee pension system is one of only two in the nation that is fully funded and that the state is a leader in managing its liabilities for both pension and health benefits over the long term.

Given the health of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), Eli Lehrer, vice president of the conservative Heartland Institute, advised Governor Walker  to focus his budget balancing effort elsewhere.

But Walker doesn't appear to be heeding Lehrer's sound advice.

On page three of Walker's budget repair bill, there is language that mandates that a study of the existing WRS be performed and that it must “specifically address establishing a defined contribution plan as an option for WRS participating employees.” The mandate even includes a deadline for completing this study, June 30, 2012.

So if the Wisconsin public employee pension fund is well managed and fully funded, why does Walker's budget repair bill include organizing a group to study it?

Because as the notorious bank robber Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks, that's where the money is. 


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