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  • Preventing Bankruptcy in State and Local Pension Plans in Colorado0

    • August 22, 2012

    State and local governments report the funding status of their pension plans in financial statements following standards set by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Historically, those standards allowed state and local governments to use an actuarial model and to discount liabilities based on the long-term yield on the assets held in the pension fund. The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) uses an 8 percent discount rate comparable to that used in most state and local pension plans. GASB also allowed state and local governments to use a smoothing technique to calculate the funding status of the plans. With this smoothing technique, losses incurred on assets in one year could be averaged over several years.

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  • Aurora Food Tax Changes Respect TABOR Restriction0

    • August 7, 2012

    The City of Aurora amended its sales tax regulations related to candy and soft drinks, as a response to concerns raised by Aurora grocery retailers. The 2012 ordinance amendment has the appearance of a tax increase but further analysis concludes the tax policy change is likely to be “revenue neutral,” And therefore does not require voter approval under TABOR.

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  • Does Colorado Fail to Spend State Taxes on Services?0

    • June 29, 2012

    Policy debates frequently turn on whether the government is spending at a reasonable level, and that is defined by the relative spending in other states. Relatively low rankings are presumed to indicate of under-spending by Colorado governments. The low rankings, however, are inconsistent with Colorado’s overall ranking for tax burden, which is close to the national median. We examine many claims relating to Colorado government spending overall, in K-12 education, in higher education, and in healthcare, and we conclude that most are misinterpreted or overstated. Colorado collects the national average in taxes,
    so how could it be that support for government programs is so uniformly near the bottom?

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  • Gaylord-style corporate welfare is unconstitutional0

    • June 20, 2012

    By what authority can the state government take tax money out of your pocket and give it away to a private corporation? The answer is that corporate welfare schemes, such as so-called “public-private partnerships,” flagrantly violate the Colorado Constitution.

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  • Solving the Funding Crises in PERA0

    • May 18, 2012

    The paper is based on testimony presented to the Senate Finance Committee regarding the soundness of the Public Employees Retirement Association fund. Dr. Poulson recommends steps to fix the actuarial problems, and modifying the retirement.

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  • Unfunded Liabilities in PERA’s Health Plan Accumulate0

    • May 8, 2012

    by Penn Pfiffner and Barry Poulson This legislative session Colorado HB1250 was introduced to begin addressing an unfunded billion-dollar liability in the Public Employee Retirement Association’s (PERA) retiree health care benefit program. Its own sponsor then killed the bill after it came under a fire storm of hysteria-tinged and false criticisms, fueled by one-sided media

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