Pension Reform

Inaugural ALEC-Heritage Foundation Pension Reform Working Group

Along with The Heritage Foundation, ALEC successfully launched the inaugural Pension Reform Working Group on March 6. ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson welcomed more than 30 stakeholders from across the nation, who attended either in person or via conference call. Participants exchanged research, ideas and progress updates from a variety of states. The mission of this working group is to discuss best practices and develop free market solutions to address the pension crisis at all levels of government.

Co-chairs of the group include Jonathan Williams and Bob Williams of ALEC, and Rachel Greszler of The Heritage Foundation. Several state legislators were in attendance as well as U.S. Congressional staffers. One state legislator in attendance, Pennsylvania Representative Frank Ryan, CPA, presented on the current status in his home state and opined on the seriousness of the situation:

Unfunded pensions are the biggest issue in the United States. If we solve this, the nation’s future is bright; if we don’t, we are condemning the younger generation to a lifetime of misery as we dig out of the problems the older generation has created. This pension reform working group takes our responsibility seriously to come up with best practices and solutions.

As Representative Ryan noted throughout his presentation, Pennsylvania is among the worst in terms of unfunded liabilities. According to the ALEC publication, Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2016: Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Near $5.6 Trillion, the state’s unfunded pension liabilities exceed $210 billion. Pennsylvania is not alone—an astounding seven additional states have pension liabilities over $200 billion. This crisis afflicting our nation is precisely why The Heritage Foundation and ALEC find it crucial to facilitate collaboration among those working on pension reform. Other featured presentations included How the Obama Administration’s New Rule to Create State-Based Retirement Savings Could Hurt Savers and Cost Taxpayers, and Keeping the Promise: Getting Politics Out of Pensions.

ALEC would like to thank all attendees for joining us last week, and we eagerly anticipate continuing this important work at future meetings. If you are interested in attending or learning more, email Jonathan Williams. Please note we welcome participation via conference call if you are not located in the Washington, D.C., area.

Listen to an interview with Chris Woodward of American Family Radio featuring Jonathan Williams and Rachel Greszler.


In Depth: Pension Reform

Modern, 401(k)-style plans are now commonplace in the private sector. For state workers, however, traditional pensions are still the norm. As former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist wrote in Keeping the Promise: State Solutions for Government Pension Reform, this is not a partisan issue, but a math problem. State Budget…

+ Pension Reform In Depth