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Are State Pensions at risk of Collapse?

Megan Lynch
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX)- Some former Missouri state employees and educators are making six-figure pensions and one group says that’s breaking the bank.

Taxpayers United of America is touring Missouri this week, releasing a list of the top 100 teacher and government retirement pay-outs.

Vice-President Christina Tobin gives the example of the former Superintendent of Parkway Schools getting an estimated pension of 175-thousand-dollars a year, “…gets an estimated total lifetime pension pay-out of over 7.5 million dollars.  This is unsustainable.”

What’s the solution according to Tobin?  “We need the current individuals collecting pensions to pay more into the system.   And all new hirees to not get pensions, only 401k’s.”

KMOX News asked whether TUA has looked at Missouri’s pension funds specifically.  “We’ve looked at the system, it’s not viable at all,” says Tobin.  “This is a nationwide issue.  The pensions are a huge issue as to why we have the debt that we have today.”

A spokesman for the Missouri State Employees Retirement System tells KMOX the pension pay-outs highlighted by the group make up just a fraction of the government retirees currently receiving benefits.  The average pay-out is 15-thousand-dollars a year for the 34,000 people getting pensions.  The group denies the fund is at risk of failure, thanks to adequate funding from the state.

A spokesman for Missouri’s teachers retirement system tells KMOX educators in Missouri have one of the highest contribution levels in the nation at 14-and-a-half percent.  Executive Director Steve Yoakum says the system is 83-percent funded, and in no danger of collapse.  The fund is supported through educators’ personal contributions, matching funds from schools districts and investment returns.

 

Copyright KMOX Radio

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