Matthew Craig Burke 11:30 a.m., Feb. 12
Lest We Forget: Pension Woes Worse Than Ever
With all the City's other problems, the pension woes have seemingly dropped down the "Do" list. But Mike Aguirre, former city attorney, will go to the City of San Diego budget committee today and point out some numbers. The present value of future benefits was $7.2 billion in June of 2009, the last available data. When Jerry Sanders became mayor, it was $5.9 billion. That's a huge increase. The market value of assets of SDCERS was $4.4 billion in June of 2008 and dropped to $3.5 billion in June of 2009. The City's contribution has gone from $50 million in 2001 to $250 million. Now, the pension contribution is 40% of payroll. The funded ratio in June of 2009 was 66.5%. The worst it got under former Mayor Dick Murphy was 65.8%. Aguirre wants to see the City pick up the lawsuit he pursued unsuccessfully. He would like to see benefits frozen until assets catch up with liabilities. He would like to see a defined contribution plan; the defined benefit plan realistically has to be shelved. Of course, City unions argue that the benefits are cemented into the charter. The same argument is used at the state level -- the benefits are supposedly cemented in the constitution. Aguirre argues that the charter and the state constitution can be changed.