I have my favorite:
And Judith C. Cambria seems to agree with me, at least she did back on August 9, 2011 in her report Take the Money and Run from which I quote as regards the 1997 $2.8 billion Pension Obligation Bond sale:
How Much did Taxpayers “Save?”
The amount of bonds actually issued was $2.8 billion. Of that, $643 million went for purposes other than wiping out the pension deficit: $590 million to balance the 1997 and 1998 budgets by making it unnecessary for the state to make that amount in pension contributions during the two budget years, and $53 million for fees, commissions and premiums involved in such a mammoth bond sale.
The cost to taxpayers for repaying just the $643 million will be $2.35 billion. Paying back the entire principal and interest over the 32-year life of the repayment schedule will total $10.27 billion. Lower payments in the earlier years will escalate to $505.7 million annually for the last nine years, 2021 to 2029.
The publicly stated rationale for this massive borrowing to wipe out the deficit in the pension plan was that it would save $42 billion (later increased to $47 billion) by replacing the shortfall immediately rather than paying it through annual appropriations totaling $57.8 billion through the year 2059.
But the most important thing to remember is that the true purpose of the bond issue was to put funds into the pension system so annual appropriations could be avoided—in other words, to borrow for operating costs.
Today the state enjoys reduced costs in each annual budget because of lower contributions to the pension funds from the General Fund. But future administrations and taxpayers will have to shoulder the vast majority of $10.2 billion repayments for the pension bond. Annual debt service costs were kept low in the early years: $24 million in 1998, and $68-69 million
in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Taxpayers will have to pay $505 million annually from 2024 to 2032.
Actual payments made so far vary sharply from the schedule of debt service payments presented in the prospectus offering the pension bond of 1998: $90.8 million; 1999: $123.8 million; 2000: $133.3 million; and 2001: $130.8 million. It appears that even more of the cost is being shifted to future taxpayers. By reducing annual contributions between 1994 and 1997, New Jersey missed an unparalleled opportunity to increase the value of funds in its pension system. The way stocks appreciated during the 1990s, the state would have seen a diminution of its annual contributions without any need to borrow $2.8 billion and subject taxpayers to repaying $10.3 billion, with payments of $500 million annually from 2020-2029.
I rest my case.