S.C. Sen. Greg Ryberg has been a vocal (and occasionally effective) critic of South Carolina’s underperforming state pension fund. Just last September, in fact, he published a piece that ran in numerous papers decrying the fund’s soaring liabilities.
“The retirement system, nearly solvent and fully funded in 1999, now carries a $13 billion unfunded actuarial accrued liability,” Ryberg wrote.“The system fell to these depths because over the previous decade politicians heaped out generous new benefits with no realistic plan to pay for them. The government simply said ‘yes’ and then hoped that it would turn out OK.”
We agree with that diagnosis …
Unfortunately, Ryberg’s efforts to fix the fund’s problems have gone nowhere for years – thanks in large part to the fact that he’s an irascible noodnik (which is putting it politely).
Thankfully, State Treasurer Curtis Loftis has assumed a much more aggressive, effective leadership role in addressing problems with the state’s pension fund. Not only has Loftis embraced specific reforms aimed at reducing the fund’s liabilities, more recently he’s drawn long-overdue attention to the investment side of the equation – decrying the soaring bureaucratic budgets and skyrocketing investment fees our state has racked up as its fund continues to underperform its peers.
What has Loftis received in exchange for performing this invaluable service on behalf of taxpayers?
That’s easy … last week he took a hatchet in the back from a corrupt cabal of retirement commissioners and self-serving politicians … with a jealous Ryberg delivering the main blow (ostensibly in the hopes of landing Loftis’ job for himself).
Joining in the intrigue against Loftis was S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley … who as we’ve pointed out has a very sketchy history when it comes to advocating on behalf of pension fund reform (but a consistent hatred for Loftis).
Whether Haley or Ryberg want to admit it, Loftis has put this issue on the map … not only articulating the basic problems associated with the pension fund’s ongoing decline (it lost $1.8 billion of its $26.2 billion value over the last six months) but proposing a range of common sense solutions aimed at restoring its solvency and sustainability.
Shouldn’t everybody be rallying around these reforms?
Yes … but that’s not what’s happening.
Ryberg – with Haley’s support – is hoping to accomplish legislatively what the good ol’ boy pension fund scammers couldn’t accomplish via their carefully-calculated character assassination attempt.
Specifically, Ryberg has offered an amendment to a broader government restructuring bill that would remove the State Treasurer from the S.C. Retirement Investment System Commission (SCRSIC)– silencing the lone voice for reform on this panel while simultaneously removing its only direct line of accountability to the voters.
Does that sound like a good idea to you?
Of course not …