Church Plan Crack

There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen, Anthem

For church plans that crack may have come in Rhode Island this month.

According to ASPPA News:

Pension plans managed by religious organizations in Rhode Island now must provide regular updates to participants on the financial health of the plans. Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed a measure on July 2 setting that requirement into law.

House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) introduced 2019-H 5287 on Feb. 6, 2019; Senate President Dominick Ruggiero (D-North Providence) introduced the Senate version, 2019-S 0431, on Feb. 27. The new law requires that any nongovernmental pension plans that are not covered by ERISA and have 200 or more members must comply with ERISA’s reporting requirement under which most private pension plans must send members a letter each year outlining the health of their plan. Pension plans of religious organizations claim exemption from both ERISA and GASB reporting standards.

The catalyst for the legislation was the insolvency of the St. Joseph pension plan, which covered almost 3,000 current and former employees of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital and Roger Williams Hospital. Contributions to the plan stopped after the hospitals were sold to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014, and a lawsuit alleges that the hospital operators conspired to conceal underfunding. Ruggiero and Shekarchi are concerned that similar plans could conceal information from their participants in the future.

“All Rhode Island workers and retirees deserve to know the truth about the health of their pension plan,” said Ruggerio in a press release.

From what I have seen church plans, which have very limited reporting requirements now for their accrued pension expenses (basically a number on Part X of their 990 filings), are severely underfunded on account of this lack of oversight and exemption from ERISA funding rules. We may soon find out, in Rhode Island anyway, that they are in even worse financial shape than plans in the union and public sectors where benefits are being cut even with token oversight and some (pliable) funding rules.

35 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2019 at 11:14 am

    How about a reporting plan for all pension systems, directly to the worker/retiree?

    I had no idea about the condition of my plan until a couple of years after retiring, and I didn’t hear about it from the plan.

    According to Jane the Actuary, the United Mineworkers pension plan was fully funded in 2000, even using the more conservative, government bond-based “current liability” measure.


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Almost all PRIVATE Sector Plans were fully funded at that time………. heading into to dot-com bust.


  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting, and on topic?
    Curious about the health of United Auto Workers pensions since the companies (and pensions, essentially) were bailed out. (Still looking for the health.)

    Apparently, UAW has, or had, 30 and out pensions ($19,000/yr, in 2010). If one started at 18, he could get a full retirement at age 48. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, with that pension and Social Security, one could survive fairly well, but wait! At age 48, you can’t draw even minimum SS for 14 years.
    Solution? The plan pays a supplement until SS retirement age.

    “What we’re getting isn’t enough to live on,” said Dwayne Humphries, a 54-year-old G.M. retiree in Arlington, Tex., who completed his 30 years last year, retired, and is now getting the standard $3,150 a month, or $37,500 a year. Roughly half of the total, $19,000 a year, is the basic benefit. The rest duplicates Social Security.”

    Plus retiree healthcare. All pensions are not the same.

    This was in 2010. I don’t know what inflation and pension changes have done since then.

    Does anyone know about the current health of the UAW pension plan? Just curious.


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 12, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      The generous UAW pensions (but of course no where near as generous as many Public Sector pensions) were a MAJOR cause of GM’s bankruptcy ………. just as they WILL result in the bankruptcy of many American Cities.


      • Posted by E on July 13, 2019 at 7:39 am

        States pay three pensions here. And see how the commenter stays on topic and doesn’t shift to the default position of attacking public employees (and police in general) because they are becoming unhinged? Close your eyes, Take a deep breath, count to 10, and say “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t control”.
        “Marine1 and El Gaupo will get their pensions and I accept that”. And then go forth and smell the flowers, adopt a rescue dog, (that will in a small way make you a little bit of a hero yourself) and take him for long walks in the park.
        Acceptance is the final stage for you. It is within your reach🙂🙂


        • Posted by E on July 13, 2019 at 7:40 am

          *first line the not three
          TL wants to be like me so she is the typo police. lol


        • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2019 at 8:25 am

          And how many times do the States pay ? ………. often the above, but for MORE than one job. It’s completely outrageous that we allow NJ Police to retire (and beging COLLECTING their pension) so early that they go on to gain a 2-nd Public Sector pension, BOTH 80% to 90% on the Taxpayers dime.

          Example from yesterday’s NJ news………… articlestarts out about an unjustified clothing allowance for the Bogota Public-Works-Chief, but later on we find he’s retired from the Hackensack FD…………. AND with a NJ Police and Firemen’s Retirement System “accidental retirement” pension.


          • Posted by E on July 13, 2019 at 1:57 pm

            Once again with the double post. I think your infatuated w me. Can’t blame ya. With the pension I’m gonna have. Lol.
            Who even opens these links you post here. One about a “moocher” taking advantage and another about a “moocher” getting denied a pension. You’re unhinged!!


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2019 at 7:05 pm

            Quoting El gaupo …………

            “Who even opens these links you post here.”

            Well, neither of us definitively know the answer to that. Not surprised that you play those linke down …….. not good for you guys for the Taxpayers to truly understand the enormous magnitude of the ripoff.

            Remember that songs …….. “And the Walls come tumbling down” ?

            I think you know ALL of these ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions are teetering on the edge ………. and your constant challenge (to anything that SHOWS THAT) shows just how concerned you really are. Retirement is a LONG time ……… and YOUR (beloved PFRS) pension has (under a proper valuation) only about HALF the money it should have IN-HAND RIGHT NOW to be able to pay all that was promised. Time will tell.


          • Posted by E on July 13, 2019 at 7:16 pm

            Taxpayers. The few dozens on here? And a fraction of them open your links. All propaganda.
            I hope you are correct on one thing….for me and everyone on here, including you…retirement is a long time. I sure hope so.
            I can just see a 80 something TL and El Gaupo commenting still.
            TL: PFRS is almost dead I tell ya.
            Gaupo: windbag,


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2019 at 8:22 pm

            Oh, So now the facts presented in those links are “propaganda” ?

            Really ………….. so who’s really the “unhinged” one ?


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2019 at 10:28 am

      Hard to find because I was looking for United Auto Workers. Apparently GM has its own plan, and doing well.

      “As of Dec. 31, (2018) according to the current 10-K filing, U.S. pension plan assets totaled $56.1 billion, while projected benefit obligations totaled $61.2 billion, for a funding ratio of 91.7%, up from 91.5% a year earlier.”

      “The U.S. pension plans’ discount rate as of Dec. 31 was 4.2%, up from 3.5% the previous year, while the discount rate for the non-U.S. plans was 2.9%, up from 2.7% the previous year.”


    • Posted by stanley on July 13, 2019 at 11:30 am

      “What we’re getting isn’t enough to live on,” said Dwayne Humphries, a 54-year-old G.M. retiree in Arlington, Tex., who completed his 30 years last year, retired, and is now getting the standard $3,150 a month, or $37,500 a year.”

      Well wah! Isn’t that just like a union boy to believe that selling labor to a firm (or community) makes him a dependent child for life? The UAW made life difficult (impossible at times) for GM and others and became the senior partner in the undertaking. And when push came to shove Obummer shafted the lenders and gave the company to the union.

      And who were the lenders? Other retirees, other pension plans and so on. I wonder what the bond losses amounted to at MEP pension plans. Probably a pretty good little chunk of change. Talk about poetic justice!

      There is enough comeuppance on the way that no one will be left out. All will get their fair share including our duty patrolman. Does anyone think that a bout of inflation can’t gut that $125K per year?

      If it’s a chore to live on $37.5K per year right now, what will life be like during the troubles?


      • Posted by E on July 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm

        Wah wah wah. Market at all time high. If you’re not prepared to profit take a little to save for a rainy day that’s on you.


    • Posted by E on July 14, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Yes. As we should. No one is limited to 2% raises in the civilian sector. Lol. Nobody.
      No reason we should. And these arbitration decisions are really only a quarter % or so above that standard anyway. Reflecting a roaring economy and the need to keep the lists full of qualified folks. I can retire in this contract, I definitely will hit 30 years in my next. One more contract for me at most. Can’t wait. Retirement will be awesome 😎


      • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2019 at 2:49 pm

        Quoting ………….

        “No one is limited to 2% raises in the civilian sector. Lol. ”

        Few Public Sector workers are REALLY so limited. Who but PUBLIC Sector workers get “step raises” and “longevity raises” simply for surviving for another year ….. AND mostly BS “educational raises” ?


        • Posted by E on July 14, 2019 at 5:23 pm

          Hmmm…I guess the private sector doesn’t offer higher salaries to those who are better educated? Some even pay for this education. Never heard of that? Hmmm….do all folks make the same regardless of length of service? Or do some companies give their long time employees a little bit more? As you know, longevity bonuses have been removed from many a police contract(including mine for new hires after 2018). Step raises are just a split between lowest pay and top pay. 40 years ago it was 3 to 5 years on average to make top pay. Folks had 3 or 4 step raises and were at top pay. The towns over the years have negotiated many more steps into these couple contracts. Before my time it was 5 years. I was the first hire to need to wait 6.5 years. Next contract was 9 then 10 now it is 14 years to top pay. So, yes, that makes 14 steps to top pay. And we have the removal of medical after retirement and longevity for new hires.
          Hmmm….my wife gets a bonus every year. Nice bonus and a dinner at a top end steakhouse. I get to enjoy that, she gets the security of PFRS. Life’s great huh. You have heard of folks getting a bonus right? Sometimes even for completing a project early or going above and beyond. Right? I could arrest Joanne Chesimard and I wouldn’t get an extra penny.


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2019 at 6:04 pm

            Actually, in the Private Sector raises are rarely tied to achieving a new degree. It’s what you “produce” that counts.

            Quoting …………. “Step raises are just a split between lowest pay and top pay. ”

            Gobbledygoog …………. it’s just another way to pay more once a plateau in skills, knowledge has ALREADY been reached. E.g. studies have suggested that teachers don’t get “any better” at it once they have 5 years of experience…… so why do we keep paying them MORE for additional experience. I’m SURE the same hold for Police.

            Quoting ………….

            “And we have the removal of medical after retirement and longevity for new hires.”

            Re Medical in retirement, it SHOULD HAVE been ended for everyone …….. that’s the way it MOST OFTEN works in the Private Sector, and PUBLIC Sector workers are NOT “special” and deserving of a better deal …on the Taxpayers’ dime.

            FWIT, I’m VERY surprised that after all these years, SOMEONE hasn’t dragged Joanne Chesimard back to the US under the cover of darkness.


          • Posted by E on July 14, 2019 at 10:09 pm

            Àgain, step raises are not given once someone reaches top pay. You may be referring to a cost of living raise which in most cases these last 10 years was under 2%. Most jobs do have a few step raises. Very few college grads make what someone 10 years in the field make.
            Finally— I also am surprised she has not been caught/killed at some point over the years. Fact remains I would get a nice medal, but not a dollar more. Which is fine w me. I’ll be happy w the medal in that case.


          • Posted by E on July 15, 2019 at 2:10 am

            Teachers don’t get any better after five years. I would argue it is probably closer to 10, police about the same. By ten years you will see just about everything. You are pretty dense TL. Contracts have included more step raises to make it take longer to reach top pay. That helps the town. I haven’t gotten a step raise in 18 years. Cost of living raises are give to folks to keep up with….the cost of living. Two totally different things. One divides up the time and money from day one entry level pay and top pay and the other end of the scale. One is a raise to keep up with the fact the things cost more than they used to. Otherwise top pay would still be $10,000 a year. Is it really hard to understand?
            No gobbledygook here. Pretty simple concept actually.
            Longevity is different and is largely disappearing from public sector contracts. It did for my town in 2003 for non police employees and 2018 for police. No new hires get it after that date. We still have education pay at the whopping amount of $1800 added to your base pay upon reaching top pay. Wow!!! Was the same when I started. Now not given until 15 years on.


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2019 at 10:27 am

            Quoting El gaupo …………

            “Cost of living raises are give to folks to keep up with….the cost of living. ”

            While I don’t know what is in Private UNION contracts, single employers do NOT annually increase wages to adjust for the cost of living. You get a raise or promotion ….when you’ve earned it.


          • Posted by E on July 15, 2019 at 4:21 pm

            Yea ok. But it seems those raises come pretty damn close to every year or two at most. My wife gets an annual review. This review has on occasion been given 18 months or so after the last. But it always has included a minor salary adjustment. If not she would’ve seemed work at a different employer. Promotions in my line of work are few and far between. You are lucky if you 2 in your whole career. Making you a LT.
            The overwhelming vast majority of private (and public) sector jobs provide for cost of living increases/salary adjustments or plain ol raises on a fairly regular enough basis that folks can keep up with the price of crap. To say otherwise just shows your jealously. You hafta ALWAYS play contrarian to me, with very very few exceptions. Perhaps the harassment charge negating a pension claim was one that comes to mind — I feel harassed by what you said, you lose your pension.
            Otherwise, as you have admitted, you LOATHE admitting your wrong to a public employee. Even if true. I am man enough to admit I’m wrong when I am. And I am sometimes, no one is right all the time.
            You feel because I work in the public sector, that I am so removed from the private sector, (despite also working in it for years before being hired and plenty of side gigs, and having my wife work in it) that a have no clue what it takes to make a living—strange. I would prefer it if you always weren’t so antagonistic towards me because you don’t like my compensation package but it is what it is. Jealousy. I would prefer you see me a hard working cop who has been gainfully employed, raised a family and done everything right. That’s ok though. You prefer to see me as a MOOCHER. Doesn’t mean I feel one bit guilty about what I make. Not one bit. Try seeing folks as human beings instead of a “moocher” with a badge gun and “baron”. You might just be better off. Outside of your opinion of my pension, we probably share MUCH more in common than we don’t. Disagree with that perhaps and then listen to the other side and value you them as human beings. And realize that in the scheme of things there are far worse people than honest cops, TL.
            You don’t listen. You dismiss every argument even if you’re incorrect.


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 15, 2019 at 7:25 pm

            El gaupo, Look at how so many of your sentences start ……….

            (1) You hafta ALWAYS play contrarian

            (2) you LOATHE admitting your wrong

            (3) You feel because I work in the public sector,

            (3) You prefer to see me as a MOOCHER.

            (4) You dismiss every argument

            So who’s fixated upon whom ?


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm

        “Salary growth in state and local government and public education has lagged that of the private sector. Over twenty years, average private sector wages rose by 15 percent above inflation while state and local government pay rose by 8 percent and public education by 5 percent.”

        Andrew G. Biggs of AEI, April, 2019

        Damb unions!


        • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2019 at 5:54 pm

          Responding to Stephen DOuglas (posting as Anonymous)………

          Oh. not surprising that you limited your comment to wages, not total compensation ………… and more importantly, what’s IMPORTANT for comparative purposes is not the CHANGE in wages or Total Comp (from a base that may be too low or too high) but where it is TODAY.

          You know where I’m going …………. Total Comp is MUCH MUCH higher in the Public Sector when comparing ALL workers in comparable jobs ….. and to beat you to your standard reply, NO, it doesn’t matter that “segments” of that total may show higher Private Sector total Comp. What financially impacts the taxpayers is the TOTAL from ALL group taken together.


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      Gov Murphy’s non-renewaal of the law that set a 2-percent cap on wage increases public-sector unions could win in interest arbitration is just one of MANY examples of how he has betrayed NJ’s Taxpayers and sucked-up to the Unions for their votes, their election support, and their money.

      Pretty clear that he’ll be a one-term Gov ……….. with that salary cap coming back in short order. If the Taxpayers press hard, maybe that new Gov will also support repealing S5 so that the Police can rightfully share in the pension reductions sure to come.


      • Posted by E on July 14, 2019 at 2:59 pm

        Dream on. S5 here to stay. Even if it isn’t I’ll get my full pension.
        2% cap may come back. We’ll see. Not much push to go against the cops. Either way I’ll be in my last contract already and again will be unaffected.


      • Posted by E on July 14, 2019 at 5:26 pm

        By the way….what is a non-renewaal?
        Same as a baron?


  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    “In the decades before the cap was installed in 2011, arbitration awards ranged from 2 percent to nearly 6 percent.”

    Decades? Some people seem to believe annual COLAs are the norm. IDK about New Jersey, but for us, they were contingent upon revenues, barely. Not uncommon to go two or more years with no increase, then (try) to play catch-up.

    Gov. Brown signed collective bargaining in 1978, with no right to strike or arbitration. In other words, collective begging. I saw no difference in contracts before and after. In fits and starts, compensation has roughly kept up with inflation.

    That INCLUDES the 14 percent catch up in 79 that was vetoed by Brown, with the veto overridden by the legislature. “Powerful Public Employee Unions” is an oxymoron.


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 14, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Well that “collected begging” along with the UNIONs BUYING their Elected Official’s favorable votes on Public Sector Pay, Pensions, and Benefits workers out pretty darn GOOD for the workers and pretty darn BAD for the Taxpayers.

      Example: CA Police pensions ………….. 90% of final pay after 30 years … COLA-increased and no minimum age.


  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    That was then. This is now.

    The new formula is 2.7%@57

    As of 2018, 30% of state safety workers fall under PEPRA.

    Minimum age, still 50.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: