If we want Wyoming to still be a viable state at the next turn of the century, we shouldn’t let it go bankrupt.
The biggest threat to our State’s solvency is our government pension systems.
We can keep our promises to our current pension recipients and still save the State; we just have to stop adding more people to the pension system. After establishing a transition date, future government employees would receive a defined contribution retirement benefit every year.
Every interested party in this issue would benefit from this change, every one.
Current employees expecting a pension would receive their pension. By closing the pension system to new recipients, they would be much more statistically likely to receive their pension as the system would not go bankrupt, like every other government pension system is expected to do.
Unlike Detroit municipal pensioners who will receive a much reduced retirement (if any), our Wyoming government workers will retire to an intact and funded system.
Young citizens of Wyoming, and their children, and their grandchildren,
would celebrate that we are not dumping this unfunded debt on their generations. Anyone who says they care for the children can’t honestly defend sustaining the current pension system without substantial reform.
Future state, county and municipal employees will receive their retirement contribution every year that they work and will be able to invest it as they see fit, controlling their individual investments.
They will not be vulnerable to an empty promise that one day they will receive a pension. Statistically this is very unlikely as no government pension is fully funded, not even Wyoming’s, which is the second best in the country for funding.
Pensions are a sneaky way for politicians to hide debt by putting this obligation off into the nebulous future without any exact numbers. Promises to give retirees pensions can never predict life span, pension fund investment returns or the actual exact impact of cost-of-living increases because they all interact to effect the monthly pension obligation at some future time.
Predicting our pension obligation on how many people we are paying and how much we are paying in 2030 and 2040 is about as likely as predicting the weather on the second
Tuesday of each of those years.
It is unlikely that the government in Wyoming will ever fully fund our current pension plan. Recently the State of Wyoming enjoyed a $300 million windfall of mineral tax revenue.
Did the government put this money against the unfunded pension obligation?
No, it gave current state employees a raise. This behavior is typical among governments who know that the consequences will occur in the distant future. Then taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.
These taxes diminish business growth, individual investment and the average person’s financial well-being.
They severely reduce the chance that Wyoming in 2100 will be recognizable to us today.
It’s time to talk to your mayor, your county commissioner and your state representatives about what you believe will ensure a Wyoming we recognize in the next future.