Pension Sustainability Commission Recognized

October 19, 2018

I was honored to be appointed Chair of the CT Pension Sustainability Commission charged with finding a solution to Connecticut’s biggest budgetary problem – the unfunded state pension liability.

As part of the search for workable solutions, the commission is considering the feasibility of maximizing the value of state capital assets, such as select, state-owned real estate and the CT State Lottery. If the theory proves viable, those enhanced value assets will generate revenue streams which will be dedicated to paying down the unfunded liability.

The work of the commission has been recognized in an article written by Forbes Magazine contributor Barnet Sherman titled Has Connecticut Found A Solution To Underfunded Public Pensions?

From the article:

Theory to Reality

Transferring billions in state assets isn’t something one does in haste. It is a complex venture with a host of political, financial and operational considerations. To analyze all aspects of the policy and make recommendations as to how to proceed, the Connecticut General Assembly created the Connecticut Pension Sustainability Commission.

The Chair of the 13-member Committee is State Representative Jonathan Steinberg. He is clear-eyed and unflinching about the serious problem the state faces with the growing pension underfunding. As a four-term legislator, he is keenly aware that reducing the liability is a top priority if the state is to extricate itself from its persistent budget problems. The pension underfunding burdens the state with underlying, long-term structural financial issues that need to be addressed in a systemic way. He is direct: short-term fixes or deferrals don’t provide true solutions—and that includes further spending cuts and tax increases.

With options limited, the asset contribution proposal has his full attention. Acknowledging there are a myriad of factors that have to be balanced, Representative Steinberg put three at the top of the list: identify the highest opportunity assets, determine the value of those assets, and establish what organizational structure might be best for the pensions to hold those assets.

I am grateful to Forbes Magazine for the article that will contribute to raising awareness of the commission’s work and I am confident that we can accomplish what we are tasked with.

Addressing the growing unfunded pension liability problem will be instrumental in turning around Connecticut's budget situation and shaping our state’s economic future.

Read the article here: FORBES ARTICLE