Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks "Senator"
by josh keller · Published · Updated
Slacker king Stephen Malkmus is back with a new album, Mirror Traffic, backed up by his trusty band the Jicks. The first song on the Beck produced LP is the wily, throwback (Pavement sounding?) track “Senator,” which features Malkmus’s usual snarky lyrics and a decidedly ramshackle edge. Looking forward to hearing whole album as it sounds like Malkmus and the gang are in fine form. The band will be coming to Minneapolis on Oct. 8th for a show at the Pantages Theater, with tickets on sale in a few weeks.
Alaska grows cold on its 401(a) plan; State legislation could bring back defined benefit plan for state, municipal workers.(Pension Funds)
Pensions & Investments March 9, 2009 | Inklebarger, Timothy Byline: Timothy Inklebarger Alaskan legislators are poised to return to a defined benefit plan for state and municipal employees and teachers, just three years after making the 401(a) defined contribution plan the main state system.
The move would make Alaska the most recent state to revert to defined benefit from defined contribution. The West Virginia Teachers’ Retirement System returned in 2005 to enrolling new employees in a defined benefit plan. And in 2002, Nebraska replaced its defined contribution plan with a hybrid cash balance plan because of concerns that the DC plan was not generating enough retirement savings for state employees, according to information from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Georgetown, Texas. go to web site defined benefit plan
A switch in Alaska would make Michigan, which closed its DB plan to new participants in 1997, the sole state that maintains only a DC plan for incoming state workers, according to a report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Oregon and Indiana offer hybrid plans, eight other states – Florida, Washington, Ohio, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, South Carolina and Vermont – give employees a choice between DB and DC as the primary retirement vehicle, and the remaining 38 states provide defined benefit plans, according to a 2008 study by the Center for Retirement Research.
Keith Brainard, research director for NASRA, said Ohio gives state workers a one-time option to switch between the DB and DC plans after five years of service. He said Ohio is the only state that offers the switch.
“A lot of people go into public employment believing they will be there for a relatively short period of time,” he said. Workers often find, however, that after five years of employment they have changed their minds about leaving and choose to opt into the DB plan, Mr. Brainard said.
In Alaska, three bills have been introduced – two in the House and one in the Senate – to return to a defined benefit plan for new state employees. The two House bills are awaiting committee hearings.
The Senate proposal – by state Sen. Kim Elton – could have a tough time getting a hearing. Sen. Bert Stedman, who was the author of the bill that created the DC plan in 2006, is co-chairman of the Finance Committee, one of two committees that need to approve the bill.
When asked during an interview if he would hear testimony on the bill and bring it to a vote, Mr. Stedman would only say: “Last year, it made it to Senate Finance and didn’t get a hearing.” Current, new workers All three bills would open the defined benefit plan to all existing state and municipal employees and teachers; new employees would be enrolled in the DB plan. The Alaska Public Employees Retirement System and Teachers Retirement System, both in Juneau, had assets valued at a combined $16.4 billion and their unfunded liability was estimated at $5.7 billion in 2005, when the DC plan bill was making its way through the Legislature.
Kevin Brooks, deputy commissioner for the state Department of Administration, told the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee in February that the unfunded liability had grown to $7.4 billion as of June 30, 2007, the latest data available. “There are some estimates it’s grown to over $9 billion,” he said. The actuarial report for fiscal year 2008 is due out later this month or next.
Mr. Stedman estimates the current unfunded liability is closer to $11 billion or $12 billion. site defined benefit plan
Mr. Elton said having the DC plan as the primary retirement vehicle has made recruitment and retention of state employees more difficult, a sentiment echoed by Mr. Brooks.
“We’ve heard from some of our hiring managers that the new (plan) has made it more difficult for us to hire people,” Mr. Brooks told the committee.
Mr. Stedman said in an interview that he’s more concerned with a growing massive unfunded liability than employee retention.
Gov. Sarah Palin’s administration has not taken a formal position on the proposals.
Calls to the Alaska Retirement Management Board were not returned.
Mr. Brainard said Alaska is the only state whose defined contribution plan does not offer Social Security as a way to provide a guaranteed floor benefit if their DC investments go south.
“When you have a combination of non-Social Security participants and no access to a defined benefit plan, you’re removing all sources of secured retirement income,” he said.
LOSING OUT: Keith Brainard says no DB plan and no Social Security is a bad mix.