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Reforming Public Pensions: Ideas and Options for the State and the City

Thursday June 2006

Moderator: Alair A. Townsend, Publisher, Crain's New York Business
Keynote Speaker: Douglas B. Roberts, Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, Michigan State University Former State Treasurer of Michigan
Panelists: Gary A. Amelio, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board; E.J. McMahon, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy; Joel L. Frank, Columnist, The Chief-Leader

Guaranteed pensions for government workers have become a fiscal stress point for states and cities throughout the country. In New York City alone, taxpayer-funded pension contributions for city workers will soon be $3.5 billion higher than the annual norm of the 1990s. Rising pension costs largely reflect the recent volatility of pension fund investments, but their costs also are affected by benefit increases sought by powerful public employee unions. Meanwhile, the guaranteed “defined-benefit” (DB) pension is becoming a thing of the past in the private sector, where savings-based defined contribution (DC) retirement savings plans are fast becoming the norm. How can public pension systems be reformed to provide competitive retirement benefits that are equitable and affordable for government workers and the people who pay their salaries? Join us for a provocative and informative conference dedicated to answering that crucial question.