Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich gave an interview to KSMU radio over the weekend, and in it he offered a sneak preview of his office’s audit of Missouri’s 90 public pension funds.
It’s the first wide-reaching audit of Missouri’s pension systems in 30 years. From the KSMU interview:
He says the good news is a majority of those pensions are “pretty solvent,” but noted that roughly five of the smaller ones in the state are in “serious trouble” and will require further review. Schweich declined to name those pensions ahead of the published audit.
“People wanna know ‘are our pensions solvent? Will we have to bail those pensions out? Will the people who are entitled to that pension money get the money?’ So I initiated a very lengthy and detailed study over a year ago of our 89 pension systems and in a few days we’ll release the results of that.”
Schweich says this will be the first comprehensive study that has been done on pensions in Missouri in over 30 years. He says sometimes pensions come down to a tax, or just good financial management.
“Sometimes they really have the money they’re just not investing it well, or they’re not handling it right or they have too much in the way of administrative costs. So we look at all those things. Our objective is to help pension become solvent if they’re not solvent, and make sure they remain solvent if they are.”
In April, voters in Springfield renewed the city’s ¾-cent police-fire pension sales tax. It was first brought before citizens in 2009, when the pension plan was estimated to be underfunded by $200 million. The plan is now projected to be brought into full funding within five years.
The report won’t be released until sometime in October, but it can eventually be found here.
Photo by Paul Sableman