WWL>Topics>>12-16 12:35pm Garland, Louisiana Pensions

12-16 12:35pm Garland, Louisiana Pensions

Dec 16, 2013|

First we hear that Louisiana’s retirement plans are woefully underfunded now we find out that firefighters and municipal employees retirement systems may have lost $100 million dollars of their members money. Who do you trust? We were joined by State Treasurer, John Kennedy.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

A -- of missile segment of the show came about. Last week we did a report on the federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy. And Detroit. Determining that Michigan's state constitution. Had no protections for the picture and points but Detroit had been issuing. And their 40. Kind of ruled for a every state your constitutions. Of the pension funds are required to doesn't make any difference. President interstate city starts scorned by private groups of federal judge -- can just dissolved it's so. Cities in California Florida -- number of both states became very concerned -- news reports flying around about it. And thinking that I had quite a bit I had quite a bit and knowledge of this a called third -- treasurer John Kennedy. And when I got to mobilize and it's. No a John we're we're pretty saved here with the retirement fund right and John that you said. I said no -- it at the exit usually have a lot rich. How do -- what we're underwater about nineteen billion dollar easing. And it's probably more than -- -- -- -- -- very. Conservative figure. Realistically it's probably twenty -- to thirty. -- and the reason why mark called Cuba today and I'm not true is bigger connection is that thinkers. There's reporter over the weekend and New York. Hedge fund manager apparently. Stole. Three -- -- retirement. Systems. About 100. Million dollars yes and I have the you know lawyer Earl Long did the was represented the pinch and -- business so. The guys said. That when engine crucial skimmed his memory he went to them. They -- the soon dilution going to be high risk offshore investments. -- -- with the entire and a human possible. And there were other things the lord moment but what -- revealed that out and understand. Usual penchant punch or coldness. But pension funds or in such a bond and try and keep up with what -- promised. Their members. That -- having to take. Investments that if if not. Dangerous or. A little more than -- stable they're fixing to be a little Chancy is is that all. I'm sure that happens with solemn pension systems but what happened in the instance. That your talking about. We're at the new war -- are fighters pension fund. The mistakes firefighters. Pension fund. And the municipal employees. Pension fund. Invested under a million dollars in Fletcher asset management. Which was not. Just what you describe that day in my opinion. Disinvestment about the age pension -- George was one of them were it not the worst of the top -- Worst investments I've ever seen a pension. Fund make they were told not to do it. Optional two of those more each one album diminished the employees I can't vote. I can't in my represented scandal firefighters we argue against it. Fletcher guarantees 12% -- term we tried to explain or no guarantees with investments. The board members did it anyway species Cox says -- fast flat panel on and it's because I mean debate this was this could have been aborted him and -- it shouldn't happen. Where when I saw there were guaranteed at twelve present Britt returns. About Libya. -- prime signal or break they're not to do it but I think. The lawyers were Jewish settlement represents the retirement fund said it was -- for 2008 and everything collapsed. Was 12% back in those days. Believable. 12% guarantee there's never believable. I mean it's it's now some people will leave its beat because. They allow their emotions get the way of their good judgment but pension trustees board members were not exposed to do that. The 12% guaranteed apple care what the market is -- -- Is is an absurd. -- guarantee it's an absurd prediction it can't be a anybody who it -- if someone comes he has is that got a guaranteed 12% investment run especially can't wait for. Let's take a -- to come back. -- the -- -- kinda give an overall hold to it it seems to me from reading news that pension plans that you want and kinda pushing -- -- -- to meet what their members they are and they -- I gave about John Kennedy has strayed treasurer. Called for a week. Two her much -- -- wants a outwards is okay is about Lipton says we should bullets. And basically John dollar for the people who missed -- we're talking about a nineteen billion dollar deficit bright though and potentially more. Yes yes -- we have the six. The largest deficit. In our state -- retirement systems. Of the any state in the country. Well what's -- budget for last year toward the poor bill 121. So we've got -- toward Bob portrait were in their budget. And we're -- nineteen billion dollar. Retirement. Deficit nineteen billion dollars of we don't in your city could go before about nineteen. Yes yes I think realistically it's between twenty the -- We did that money or thought we keep pulling -- I would do three thanks immediately. And we can do it in January the governor called special election. Number one we've got to get control of our investments. How wasn't the only one who argued that Gates's investment with Pletcher mayor target in the Q and Baton Rouge and now in municipal association. He voted -- argued against it mayor Mason Foster. Mayor Pam and argued against it but abortion did it anyway. Some of our remarkable. Systems teachers for example the state employees' retirement system -- a good job with the best but a lot of these small or. Systems. Don't to a very good job that's why you read in the paper where they're constantly investing in golf courses -- And raw land -- lose money. We need to take away their investment authority. Put it in the hands of the advancement perfection. No politics church myself included. I don't I don't. Go to two dollar total most of these boards that -- member action chief investment officer. Because he knows a lot more about it and -- These other -- can continue to exist but take away their investment authority put it in the hands. A professional. Who won't do don't panic dispatched number one. Number two week -- stopped the bleeding. For a brand new employees age we can no longer -- forward the current system which isn't defined benefit plan. We need to come up with a hair but affordable. The planned contribution plan sort of a modified. 401K. Tight poignant. It will pass Muster with via the Social Security guys and gals and Washington. And for all brand new employees. Put him and that disappointed. That the taxpayers can report that won't solve the UAL on the patch but it'll stop the bleeding and the third thing we need to do. Is sit -- with -- the governor and legislature. And realistically. Value. Our deficit our unfunded accrued liability. And come up with a realistic plan of paying it all over time. And that means. Equal payment shall protect. What we've done in the passed on which it gonna pay Health Department is. Back in the early eighties legislature should work I at all. But for the first ten or fifteen years were -- pay a little bit and then back in bloated. They were kicking the can down the road shall future governor our future legislature would have to make the tough decisions. We shouldn't do that but avoided those two things we can get control this problem can be done Wendell white. Just passed legislation very controversial but they did. To like to get control of that the retirement systems and went away on a -- and the largest. Deficit. In the country. Where numbers six but. We're we're we're better but we're not whale. But it can be fixed. It's too if we make it up down broad if we we make it up a week ago. Helping this retired teacher or -- retired policeman. And I still -- and getting my retirement as we changed the amount put an end. Add to the amount that. -- yes if we do it correctly. Now bat bat by doing it correctly I mean we have to change the system for brand new employees. We have to get control of our best much you know no more golf courses no more no no more deals that are too good to be true. Are we have to care be very careful and granting what we call call -- -- cost of living adjustments. We can't do a cost of living adjustment. Every year. Are we have to come up with a with a payment plan to pay off the current yes deficit it would have to stick to. And we have to -- more sane again we have to stop. Making these foolish investments we also have to stop one other -- legislatures has pretty much stop doing this but in the past. That that they would do it -- recession they would get special benefits to certain people without putting the money -- To pay for their benefits. I mean it was that you know. Torre -- and we thank pretty much stopped doing habitat contributed substantially to the problem. I've always wondered why the investment in golf courses -- Because many of these small -- -- are comprised. Of members the world elected. From the membership. Typewriters board for example has sparked by the audit they have a majority about and they are very good people many of them are very fine people I don't mean to. Just speak badly of them but they're not desperate professional. There's not. So when someone comes in and take -- out to dinner and says look you know 12% guarantee. Ya -- Some people boldly that look at all the people lost money -- party night off. Very sophisticated investors allowed their greed or motion to get in the way of their of the irrationality. And we need to just put the investment decisions in the hands -- professionals. Who -- politicians. How much time do we have to do all of this super got a couple years five Beers to -- it. Yeah all. That's hard to say I mean every day we wait to the hole -- steeper. If we have. Rough spot in the stock market the whole -- be pushed ill. Where we all know 20082000. I'm pretty tough that the ocean the -- stock market losses added to be yet to the deficit. We need to get started now but. What new normally happens these negotiations -- have to be made by our elected officials and the tendency is to say well. -- make somebody mad doing it -- gorgeous ball and reinstall and kick the can down the road and let somebody in the future worry about. John Kennedy always an eye opener in good to have -- on the show thank you so much thank -- army.