STRS and OPERS…how well are they funded?

We have been trying to better understand the various pension systems in the State: STRS, SERS, PERS.  When reviewing the State of Ohio’s annual financial statement report, we noticed some interesting statistics, and we wanted to be sure that we understood their impact on the Ohio taxpayers.  It may sound strange, but we view numbers or statistics as “talking to us” – telling us a story.

Here is an email that we sent to our current State Representative and incoming Lake County Commissioner, Mr. Ron Young.

I need some help understanding the attached schedules that I printed from the State of Oho financial reports for the fiscal year ended 6/30/17.  Perhaps you can give me some names to contact.

One deals with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, and the other the State Teachers; Retirement System.

If we are reading this correctly the OPERS is total funded since the Plan’s Fiduciary Net Position as a percentage of the Total Pension Asset is 116.55%.

However, when we look at the STRS the same number is 74.71% in 2014,  72.10% in 2015, and  66.78% in 2016.  That indicates a downward trend and also shows that the pension plan is not totally funded [unfunded pension liability?], which could cause some future problems for those in the pension plans.

Now neither one is as bad as the bankrupt social security, but I wonder if there is any possible future impact to State of Ohio taxpayers?

Thank you,
Brian Massie

Here are pages from the financial report detailing the percentages in question:
 State of Ohio Pension Liability

Representative Young quickly responded with this message:
“Brian, you certainly have an inquiring mind. Bob, I believe the Boards for both retirement plan asked the GA to reduce payouts. Can you check that out and let me know?”
(LFC comment: Bob is Bob Reed, Mr. Young’s very capable assistant. Note that we may be on to something that the taxpayers should know about)

Here is our response back to Representative Young:

Our group, Lobbyists for Citizens, believes that citizens should play an active role in the affairs of government; our role does not stop when we cast our vote.  Unfortunately, we do not necessarily get what we “expect” from government, we only get what we “inspect”.   Thank you for looking into this matter for us.
We will see you at the Commissioners’ meetings and budget meetings in 2019.  We look forward to working with you in the future.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact us, if we can be of any assistance to you in your new position as Commissioner.
Brian Massie

Categories: Education, Uncategorized


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