Friday, February 25, 2011

New York's Pensions

I love data and while I've played around on this site - seethroughny.net -before, I really enjoy their sortable pension data.

In my opinion, the biggest factors impacting all pension plans are longer life expectancy and poor investment returns (although hopefully investment returns have been improving thanks to the "Never see red Fed" policies that are in place).

However, a quick look at some of the NYS pension plans is very eye opening. I excluded NYC's pensions because they have little impact on NNY.

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NYS Police and Fire Retirement System:

* 28,948 total participants

* 922 participants receive over $100,000 in annual pension payments (3.2% of all participants).

* 3,473 participants receive over $70,000 in annual pension payments (12% of all participants).

* The top 20 payouts totaled $3.4 million and averaged $170k/year.

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NYS Employees Retirement System:

* 313,595 total participants

* 456 participants receive over $100,000 in annual pension payments (0.1% of all participants).

* 4,350 participants receive over $70,000 in annual pension payments (1.4% of all participants).
* The top 20 payouts totaled $3.7 million and averaged $186k/year.

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NYS Teachers Retirement System*:

* 133,633 total participants

* 950 participants receive $100,000+ in annual pension payments (0.7% of all participants)

* 10,575 participants receive over $70,000 in annual pension payments (8% of all participants)

* The top 20 payouts totaled $4.4 million and averaged $220k/year.

(*I adjusted the teacher data, because it appears as though there are 2 records for each person in the system)

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Follow-up on NY's Medicaid woes:

The Medicaid issue caused the biggest spike on my blog in over a year so I thought I'd follow up. I was encouraged by Governor Cuomo's press release yesterday seeking action on the Medicaid issue. At this point, it's just a press release but if implemented, this would be a step in the right direction.

"The recommendations submitted today to Governor Cuomo meets the Governor's budget target by introducing a global cap on State Medicaid expenditures of $15.109 billion."

Currently, NY is spending over $30 billion annually, with another $30 billion from the Federal Government, on Medicaid. Cutting this program's cost in half is an aggressive goal.

Cheers!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everybody wonders why NYS is in such bad shape. I can work in private industry for 45 years and not retire with a 40K pension let along 70 to 100K.

NYS unions are not the only cause but they have far from helped the situtation of pushing for more and more for what? What does a state worker need a union for? If somebody could explain the benefit of a union in today's climate and with today's OFFICE jobs i would be happy to hear it.

sharonwue said...

Speaking for my fellow NYS Retirement members, most of us don't have pensions anywhere near those heady numbers. Most of us don't even KNOW people who get pensions that size. I worked for 26 years, to earn a pension that is roughly half my end salary, and I paid toward my pension for my whole career. I remember every negotiation my union ever had, and I recall many contracts that were settled with 0 raises for the first 2 or 3 years of the contract, with 3.4 or 4 % raises for the other two or three years. We gave, and we got. Worked with some great people. Now I'm starting to get nostalgic...

Anonymous said...

You should worry more about what the huge PRIVATE corporations that got a government bailout with our tax dollars are paying their retitrees. WAY WAY more than state worker retirees.
You weird "chip-on-the-shoulder" people. If state workers were never offered a retirement plan, who do you suppose would take a job with NY State and give you the services you (demand) expect?
Pension doom is bull. The New York State Retirement Plan is one of the most well run, healthiest plans in the US. Check your facts.
It isn't going broke anytime soon. No matter what employees contribute.

The Artful Blogger said...

Thanks for the comments.

For the record, I was not a supporter of the bank bailouts. They took on risk that was beyond their means to manage and they should have suffered the consequences.

I don't think many (if any) of the bailed out banks pay pensions but I'd be willing to look into it.

In my opinion the NY pensions have varying degrees of health. The general NYS Employee plan is probably the healthiest and you are right to indicate that it is well funded. The other pensions are not as well funded and will require local governments and school districts to continue to increase contributions to make up for their subpar investment performance.

Thanks again for the thoughts and check out the latest post on NJ's pension woes coming later today.