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Accounting Change Will Expose ...

JUNE 25, 2014 | FORT WAYNE NEWS-SENTINEL (INDIANA)

By Michael Hicks, includes “This week marked the full implementation of two new Government Accounting Standards Board rules affecting the reporting of pension liabilities. These rules -- known in the bland vernacular of accountancy as Statements 67 and 68 -- require state and municipal governments to report their pensions in ways more like that of private-sector pensions. … One result of this is that governments with very high levels of unfunded liabilities will see their bond ratings drop to levels that will make borrowing impossible. In some places, like Indianapolis or Columbus, Ohio, may have to increase their pension contributions and perhaps make modest changes to retirement plans, such as adding a year or two of work for younger workers. Places like Chicago or Charleston, West Virginia, will be effectively unable to borrow in traditional bond markets.  Pension funds in Chicago alone are underfunded by almost $15 billion. Under the new GASB rules Chicago's liability could swell to almost $60 billion or roughly $21,750 per resident. Retiree health care liabilities add another $3.6 billion or $1,324 per resident, so that each Chicago household will need to cough up $61,000 to fully fund their promises to city employees. The promise will be broken. …”

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