K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Milwaukee County retirees could lose cost-of-living increases as unfunded pension liability grows

Don Behm:

A Milwaukee County pension reform task force has recommended the possible elimination of 2% annual cost-of-living increases now added to thousands of retirees’ pension payments at a cost of up to $20 million a year.

The proposal comes as the county’s unfunded liability for the pension commitments it already has made to retirees and current employees has swelled to at least $550 million this year, officials said.

In response, the county’s annual pension contribution — a total of the year’s general pension system operating costs and an amount for the unfunded liability — has steadily increased in recent years from $27.4 million in 2012 to $72.6 million this year, budget documents show.

The portion of the payment designated for the unfunded liability alone has grown from $10.23 million in 2012 to $53.23 million in 2018.

Milwaukee County Pension Scandal Primer.