Friday, December 9, 2016

More on the Missouri Pension Problem

Earlier this week I linked to Rudi Keller’s article about the $50 million budget hit that’s coming next year by way of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System. It raises questions whether MOSERS’ investment return assumptions have been too rosy for it to achieve without extra taxpayer help.

For years Treasurer Clint Zweifel has been trying to get the MOSERS board to reduce the rate of return assumptions.  If they’d listened to him years ago, they might have avoided this situation.

In 2012, Zweifel convinced them first to lower from 8.5% to 8%.  But that wasn’t as far Zweifel had wanted to go.

Zweifel felt that 8% was too optimistic“You have to be able to look taxpayers in the eye and say yes, there’s a high likelihood that we’re going to be able to hit this return, not just over one year, two years or five years, but over a 30-year period. That’s a heck of a promise to make to taxpayers. I’d rather us have a lower rate of return that we feel with a higher confidence we’re going to be able to hit year after year. Eight percent is not a number that I feel comfortable with.”

He felt 6% was more realistic“What we're looking at is basically what kind of return and investment mix should they be doing when funding their pension system," said Zweifel. "In that realm the 6% number is in line with a lot of financial economists think is reasonable for the

foreseeable future.”

This year, the MOSERS Board recued the plan’s investment rate of return assumption from 8.0% to 7.65%.

Former top Nixon aide John Watson heads up MOSERS now.  When he got the job I wrote that his hire was a bit of an anomaly as he doesn’t have a financial background.

One assumes that Governor-elect Eric Greitens has plenty of other things on his radar, but considering MOSERS could be back again during his term, he might look at the board and start exerting some control earlier rather than later.

 

More Money Before Amendment 2 Deadline

David Humphreys and his sister Sarah Atkins gave Attorney General-elect Josh Hawley $1 million.  Humphreys also gave Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft $100K.  Plus he gave Sens. Ron Richard and Mike Kehoe $100K apiece, as well as $100K to Rep. Holly Rehder.  Christmas came early….

And William Danforth gave over $500K to the pro-cell stem research group Supporters of Health Research and Treatments.

 

Immigrants Included in “Persons”

The Supreme Court struck down a practice of now allowing bail for suspected illegal immigrants. (See the ruling here).  I think this was part of the 2008 law spearheaded by then-Sen. Scott Rupp, which was one of the toughest in the nation.

Post-Dispatch’s Celeste Bott reports: The Court pointed to an article of the state constitution that states “all persons” not charged with capital offenses is entitled to bail pending certain conditions – like a bond or an order to remain in the country. In its ruling, Judge Paul C. Wilson wrote that “all persons” is the operative term.  “This does not permit the General Assembly to except subsets of “persons” from its compass, such as by prohibiting a trial court from setting conditions for release to all defendants who cannot prove their lawful presence in this country, or by prohibiting pretrial release to any other 6 class of defendants except those accused of a capital offense,” Wilson wrote.

 

Greitens Meets With Ayers

Post Dispatch reported at “Republican operative Nick Ayers said he had met with [Eric] Greitens in St. Louis.”

Previously the Post had reported on Ayers connection to Greitens use of shell organizations to hide the source of millions of dollars of campaign contributions.  See it here.

 

Heroin Deaths Surpass Gun Homicides

Washington Post reports that Opioid deaths continued to surge in 2015, surpassing 30,000 for the first time in recent history, according to CDC data released Thursday… Heroin deaths spiked too, rising by more than 2,000 cases. For the first time since at least the late 1990s, there were more deaths due to heroin than to traditional opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone and oxycodone. See it here.

 

Schaaf Would Eliminate MDFB

In reference to the soccer stadium ask, Sen. Rob Schaaf tweets… “Knowing this was coming, a week ago, I introduced SB118 which would eliminate the MDFB. We need to stop this senseless cronyism.”

SB 118 (see it here) would void “any authority given to the Missouri Development Finance Board to expend public moneys, including but not limited to the granting of loans and grants, the issuing of bonds, and the issuing of tax credits. This act does not limit the authority of the Board to fulfill any financial obligations in effect as of August 28, 2017.”

 

New Tax Credits

$276,051 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to Great Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America in Senate 16 / House 124.

$274,340 in Affordable Housing credits to Ozark Area Community Action Corporation in Senate 30 / House 135.

$128,023 in Affordable Housing credits to Council Apartments II in Senate 14 / House 87.

$88,025 in Affordable Housing credits to Drumm Center for Children in Senate 11 / House 29.

$87,042 in Affordable Housing credits to Great Circle in Senate 1 / House 83.

$38,177 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to St. Louis Area Foodbank Inc in Senate 14 / House 70.

$24,426 in Affordable Housing credits to The Kitchen Inc in Senate 20 / House 131.$8,242 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to St. Louis Crisis Nursery in Senate 24 / House 71.

$14,200 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to Boys & Girls Club of Springfield in Senate 30 / House 135.

$7,500 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to Harris House Foundation in Senate 5 / House 93.

$5,198 in Affordable Housing credits to St. Joseph Habitat for Humanity in Senate 34 / House 9.

$1,500 in Neighborhood Assistance credits to Operation Food Search Inc in Senate 24 / House 71.

$550 in Affordable Housing credits to Habitat for Humanity of St. Francois County in Senate 3 / House 116.

$248 in Affordable Housing credits to Welcome Home Inc in Senate 19 / House 45.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Elizabeth McGiffert added Consumer Reports, Inc.

Brian Grace, Rodney Boyd, and Katherine Casas added Clark Fox Family Foundation.

Roger Kurtz deleted Missouri Association of School Administrators.

Cheryl Compton deleted her lobbyist registration.  Her clients were: Missouri Association of School Administrators, Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education, Missouri Association Of Secondary School Principals, Missouri Association Of Rural Education, Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals, Missouri State High School Activities Association, Missouri Council of School Administrators, Consumers Union, MO K-I Association, Missouri Council of School Administrators, Missouri United School Insurance Council, and Missouri Association of School Business Officials

 

$5K+ Contributions

Supporters of Health Research and Treatments - $521,241 from William Danforth.

Hawley for Missouri - $500,000 from David Humphreys.

Hawley for Missouri - $500,000 from Sarah Atkins.

Friends of Holly Rehder - $100,000 from David Humphreys.

Committee to Elect Ron Richard - $100,000 from David and Debra Humphreys.

Ashcroft for Missouri - $100,000 from David Humphreys.

Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe - $100,000 from David Humphreys.

Missourians for Mike Cierpiot - $50,000 from David Humphreys.

Russ Carnahan for Missouri - $37,015 from Russ Carnahan for Missouri (old committee).

Ashcroft for Missouri - $25,000 from Herzog Contracting Corp.

Hanaway for Missouri Inc - $23,750 from Hanaway for Governor Inc.

Pharmacist Political Action Committee of Missouri - $20,000 from Missouri Pharmacy Service Corporation.

Friends of Todd Richardson - $20,000 from Comprehensive Health Mgmt Inc.

Hawley for Missouri - $15,000 from Kevin Knasel.

Missouri American Water Company Employees Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Greitens for Missouri.

Hawley for Missouri - $10,000 from Lathrop & Gage LLP PAC.

Schmitt for Missouri - $10,000 from Lodging Hospitality Management.

Citizens for Dogan - $10,000 from David and Mary Steward.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Hunter Engineering Company.

Greitens for Missouri - $10,000 from Drury Development.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to former Sen. Jeff Smith, Blake Lawrence, and Heidi Geisbuhler.

 

Congratulations

To former Speaker Rod Jetton who posted that he’s celebrated seven years of sobriety.  See it here.