The state Supreme Court will review San Diego’s five-year-old pension cutbacks that, if overturned, would require the city to spend millions creating retroactive pensions for more than 3,000 workers hired since 2012. The court voted unanimously on Wednesday to review an April ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeal that had vindicated the city and its pension cuts.
California’s second-largest public pension fund rode a booming stock market to post its best year of investment returns since 2014.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System gained an investment return of 13.4 percent for the budget year that ended June 30.
The earnings eclipsed the 1.4 percent net return that CalSTRS reported a year ago, and the 4.8 percent gain the pension fund notched in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2015.
Workers who retire from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power enjoy a higher monthly pension, on average, than retired public employees from the city and county, according to an audit released this week by City Controller Ron Galperin. LADWP retirees received an average monthly pension payment of $5,212 in the fiscal year ending July 1, 2015, the audit said. That figure is higher than the $4,023 average monthly payment for other city retirees and the $3,881 pension amount per month for retired county workers, amounts that are used as comparisons in the audit performed by contractor, Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System rode a strong year in the stock market and private equity investments to earn a return rate of 11.2 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, the pension fund announced Friday morning. That’s about double what CalPERS had expected to earn this year. It’s also a marked improvement over the previous year, when CalPERS’ investment return rate was .61 percent. In the budget year that ended in June 2015, CalPERS’ investment return rate was 2.4 percent.
When we split obligations into how much California owes to those who have already retired and current employees, a startling fact emerges. The assets California governments have now aren’t even enough to cover what it owes to current retirees. For all employees combined, retirees are owed $134.5 billion as compared to $112.6 billion in total assets. California governments do not have enough money to pay what they owe retirees, and they have nothing at all set aside for current employees. Every year, employees have funds deducted from their paychecks to go into the pension funds. Those funds will go to retirees. By the time it’s their turn, there will be no money left for current employees. Current employees are forced to pay into a retirement system that may be bankrupt when they retire.