Getting public pensions in black necessary goal

It will take years of new contributions and benefit schedules to get the state’s public pension programs in the black.

But two bills passed into law last year have the programs on track to do just that, and the change has not gone unnoticed at the national level.

Moody’s Investor Service is praising the state Supreme Court’s decision to uphold changes enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor as “credit positive” for state and local debt.

That translates into a positive factor when determining/maintaining a credit rating, which can translate into lower costs for taxpayers when financing public projects.

New Mexico’s debt is rated at AAA by Moody’s, its highest rating.

Analyst Grayson Nichols writes that the decision “upholds measures that reduced the adjusted net pension liabilities of the (Public Employees Retirement Association and the Educational Retirement Board) by $2 billion, or 8 percent.

“The reform measures also curb the rate of growth of pension costs for participating governments.”

The changes are the result of laborious negotiations between the unions and the state and will be hard for some employees to swallow.

But they are already paying dividends, and going forward, with additional attention, should ensure the state delivers on the promise of a secure retirement for state retirees.

— Albuquerque Journal

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