“Rhode Island’s Rising Pension Tide”: Some Questions for Gary Morse
At the conclusion of the Providence Republican City Committee’s event on “Rhode Island Rising Pension Tide” last Thursday, I was able to ask presenter Gary Morse (no relation) a few questions about specific numbers and predictions for the future.
Question: I’ve heard the claim made the pensions are superior to 401(k)-type plans, because aggregating all of the money into one place allows for a higher rate of return. Is that true or not?
Gary Morse: “…if you had invested in a balanced portfolio, when you came in as a teacher in 1980, you would have outperformed the investment rate that you got from the state…” Audio: 39 sec
Q: Earlier in your talk, you mentioned the lowering of the discount rate from 8.25% to 7.5%, and some skepticism about 7.5% being accurate…
GM: “…the State Treasurer’s office polled their investment advisors, and they said there’s only about a 42.5% chance that they’re going to make 7.5%…” Audio: 35 sec
Q: Knowing both the numbers as you do and being aware of the politics of the situation, if there was one thing, one message that you could give to everyone who is participating in this debate and make sure that they really knew, what would that be?
GM: “The message is, we needed an inspector general…” Audio: 1m 4 sec
Q: What is a reasonable expectation that people should have about the planned legislative session fall where pension issues are supposed to be addressed?
GM: “I don’t think we are going to see anything substantive come out of the General Assembly this fall”. Audio: 34 sec