On July 12, state Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, took part in a panel discussion on social investing for our state pension system at a Town Hall in Huntington Beach. You can view the video here.
Also participating were Mayor Mike Posey and two executives from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS): Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer, Communications & Stakeholder Relations, and Daniel Bienvenue, Managing Investment Director, Global Equity.
The topics discussed included:
- The pension spiking 20 years ago that reduced CalPERS’ funding level from 100 percent to 71 percent today.
- Government Accounting Standards Board accounting reforms that will add $91.5 billion in unfunded medical benefits to the state’s balance sheet for this year, bringing the unrestricted net deficit total to about $250 billion.
- Reducing CalPERS’ investment assumption (or discount rate) from 8 percent to 7 percent today, meaning government bodies must pay more into the fund.
- Why even the 7 percent assumption level is still much too high.
- CalPERS’ investment philosophy.
The discussion lasted an hour, and was followed by half an hour of questions from constituents. It’s a good, short introduction to the state’s financial position, especially the problems facing California’s taxpayers.