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Lansing retirement boards question $8.9 million in payments to city for unspecified expenses

LANSING, MI -- City officials said last week that the Police and Fire Retirement System and the Employees Retirement System owe the city a combined $8.9 million for what they say is an annual expense.

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Story Date: 06-25-2012


Take the next stepPublic Pensions, Once Off Limits, Face Budget Cuts

When an arbitrator ruled this month that Detroit could reduce the pensions being earned by its police sergeants and lieutenants, it put the struggling city at the forefront of a growing national debate over whether the pensions of current public workers can or should be reduced.

Conventional wisdom and the laws and constitutions of many states have long held that the pensions being earned by current government workers are untouchable. But as the fiscal crisis has lingered, officials in strapped states from California to Illinois have begun to take a second look, to see whether there might be loopholes allowing them to cut the pension benefits of current employees. Now the move in Detroit -- made possible, lawyers said, because Michigan's constitutional protections are weaker -- could spur other places to try to follow suit.

Pension funds can run out of money. In Prichard, Ala., a small city outside of Mobile, the fund ran out in 2009. The city stopped sending pension checks to its 150 retired workers, defying a state law that requires it to pay what it has promised. In the 19 months since the checks stopped, 18 retirees have died while waiting for their money.

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Story Date: 04-25-11


City of Lansing retirement funds may need $3 million more in Fiscal Year 2013

Lansing Meyor, Bernero says, "This is alarming news for the city budget and for Lansing taxpayers," he said. "Out-of-control pension costs are seriously undermining our ability to continue providing essential city services and threaten our ability to keep police officers and firefighters on the job protecting our residents. We must take action sooner rather than later to control these costs or we will be in a very serious predicament very quickly."

In Fiscal Year 2013, the city will pay police officers more in benefits -- including health care and retirement costs -- than salaries.

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Story Date: 05-14-12


Helpful Links:

IRS Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Question & Answers:

CDC Life Expectancy Chart
Life Expectancy Chart in PDF


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