Tom Barrett
Press Release

The City Milwaukee Wins National Praise for the Management of its Pension System

Mayor Barrett Congratulates Fellow City Leaders for the Honor

By - Jan 16th, 2013 05:13 pm

Milwaukee—Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today congratulated members of the Milwaukee Common Council and other elected and appointed city officials for the recognition the city received for the management of its pension obligations.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, in a study released this week, noted Milwaukee has met its pension obligations in a sustainable and affordable way. David Draine, senior researcher at the Pew Center on the States, says this approach benefits both taxpayers and employees.

“Having studied 61 cities and the 50 states, the better-funded plans all share one characteristic; they have the discipline to pay their annual pension bills,” Draine said.

Mayor Barrett noted the leadership of Alderman Michael Murphy who has been instrumental in making certain the city has taken appropriate steps to maintain the pension fund’s strength.

“Our annual city budgets take our pension obligations seriously. We have responsibly addressed the annual funding needs of the pension system; we have made changes to the system by requiring that newly hired employees make additional contributions to their pensions; and, the pension board has carefully managed the assets in the pension fund,” Mayor Barrett said. “None of these steps were easy, but they all reflect responsible actions on the part of city leaders.”

The Pew study, which examined pension funds in all cities with a population of more than 500,000 and funds in the largest city in each state, found a shortfall of approximately $217-billion in the funds of those 61 cities. The study notes “wide disparities … in how prepared cities are to fulfill their pension obligations.” It says,

  • Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., had surpluses at the end of fiscal year 2009, with enough money to cover 113 percent and 104 percent, respectively, of their liabilities, better than the best-funded state, New York, at 101 percent. [iv]
  • In four cities—Charleston; Omaha; Portland, Oregon; and Providence, Rhode Island—pension systems were more poorly funded than those in Illinois, which at 51 percent was the lowest-funded state. [v]
  • Charleston trailed all the other cities at 24 percent.[vi]
  • Overall, the cities had enough money to cover 74 percent of their pension obligations in fiscal year 2009, compared with 78 percent for states.[vii]

The study from the Pew Center on the States is available at: http://www.pewstates.org/research/reports/a-widening-gap-in-cities-85899442341?p=1

Press Releases by Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett unveils enhanced resources for Milwaukee property owners

Private buildings have access to streamlined services, resources for energy efficiency

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett Highlights Neighborhood Revitalization Effort

Northcott Neighborhood House working to improve access to job skills, housing rehab

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett Statement on Eric Von

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement regarding the passing of beloved radio host and journalist, Eric Von

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett Lifts 10:00 p.m. Curfew for Residents under the Age of 18

Curfew was in response to events last weekend in Sherman Park neighborhood

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett and MPD Celebrate National Night Out

Neighborhood Events to Take Place across City

Tom Barrett

Mayor Barrett Announces Grant for Training in Technology Fields

Department of Labor Funds Allow Residents to Develop Skills for In-Demand Tech Jobs

See More Releases