Dear State Senators,
Welcome to a new year at the Nebraska State Legislature. As you settle into a new legislative session the Lincoln Independent Business Association must claim a few minutes of your time to focus your attention on an issue of deep and growing concern. In recent years this $2.3 billion dollar issue has received little attention yet it is poised to bury Nebraskans in debt. This threat is the unfunded liability growing in the defined benefit pension programs of the Nebraska Public Employee’s Retirement Systems.
The three defined benefit pension plans managed by the state of Nebraska serve Nebraska’s judges, school employees, and state patrol. According to the most recent actuarial valuation of the Nebraska Public Employee’s Retirement System, these plans combine for a total of $2.3 billion dollars of unfunded liability. That is $1,271 dollars of liability for every man woman and child in Nebraska. This burden lies heaviest on the shoulders of Nebraska’s civil servants who must face the uncertainty of not knowing whether their retirement benefits will still be available when they retire if investment returns do not dramatically increase. This level of taxpayer risk is unacceptable. Nebraskans deserve responsible governance.
The unfunded liability amassed in Nebraska’s defined benefit pension plans has reached a tipping point; a point where Nebraska must address the issue and remove the cloud which hangs over its citizens and government employees. It is time for Nebraska’s leaders to initiate a dialog and develop solutions; solutions which limit the risk borne by the state and its taxpayers; solutions to lead Nebraska into a clearer, brighter, and prosperous future.
On Behalf of the LIBA Board of Directors