13 Questions for the Special Commission on Pension Reform

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1) How many members of the commission really think pensions and other employment benefits need to be reformed?

2) Does the Governor’s office have specific ideas as to what they would like to see in the commission report and a game plan for achieving it?

3) When PERAC presents information but states that the data is not really comparable, why doesn’t anyone ask them to come back with comparable data?

4) For that matter, for a liability as large as the state’s public employee pension system and other benefits, why don’t the Administration and legislative leaders insist on better data collection?

5) Did the Commission really have a discussion of disability without even touching on the “Heart Law”, section 94 of Chapter 32?

6) Will anyone besides Alicia Munnell and Peter Diamond contribute any new ideas or opinions on reform beyond the status quo?

7) If and when the Legislature passes some type of pension reform legislation, will there be any appetite to act on the recommendations of the Commission?

8) The Commission began its deliberations with a promise of “cost-neutrality”. Will this apply across the board, even to increases in the threshold for retiree healthcare eligibility?

9) If so, does the Commission and, by extension, those represented by designees on the Commission (i.e. Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, Treasurer), understand the politics of presenting reform proposals that do not provide savings?

10) Is the Boston Globe the primary problem facing the pension system today? Why do Commission members refer to it constantly? Do commission members really believe that the problems plaguing the pension system are media creations?

11) Does any member of the Legislature, beyond Senator Knapik, have any intention of challenging the status quo?

12) Who isn’t represented on the commission and, as a result, whose interests are being ignored?

13) Will this commission’s report collect less, the same as, or more dust than the report issued by the Blue Ribbon Commission of Pension Reform?