Sunday letters: Save state pension fund

January 26, 2014 

SC State House

ASSOCIATED PRESS

— Our state government is sitting on a ticking time bomb — its state employees’ pension fund. Currently, the cost of future benefits to state retirees exceeds the fund’s assets by $17 billion. Nearly half of the fund’s assets have been poured into such high-risk investments as private equity firms, hedge funds and venture capital. And even though our state spends three times as much on investment fees as other states, the return on our investments ranks in the bottom fifth of all states.

If the state cannot meet its obligations to its retired employees, many if not most South Carolinians will suffer. Likely the state will have to reduce its benefits to state retirees and their families, cut back state programs and increase taxes on all South Carolinians. We urge both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to work with state Treasurer Curtis Loftis to find a bipartisan, common-sense solution to the problems of the state pension fund before it implodes.

Ned Badgett

Columbia

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