Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well, yes and no 

The PioneerPress correctly and incorrectly summarizes the lack of discussion over the pension bailout here in Minnesota.
This much we understand: State taxpayers will be paying hundreds of millions to bail out the fund. And this huge state commitment elicited about one-zillionth of the public discussion that a much smaller Twins ballpark subsidy produced.

Perhaps that would change, at least a bit, if taxpayers studied a trust arrangement set up by the Minneapolis fund as it was being folded into a larger, statewide fund. State watchdogs, including Auditor Pat Anderson, objected that the $1.5 million trust was aimed at protecting the Minneapolis fund managers from lawsuits and to protect employees' severance payments.
Correct insofar as it didn't get nearly the attention it deserved, which I believe emboldened the fund managers to attempt the carve-out. Incorrect, however, in that the burden of the pension bailout is statewide, while the subsidy to the Twins is paid by one county. And that makes it worse -- the benefit levels promised by the teacher pensions is permanently ratcheted higher, so that while the stadium is a one-off purchase, the costs of the pension debacle will revisit us for the foreseeable future.