Muddied Waters

Let’s not muddy the waters with disinformation

There’s a two-page flyer circulating around the Colorado state capitol that purports to show how Colorado PERA’s hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plan provides better benefits at a lower cost than any possible alternative.

At a time when productive conversations are occurring about how to begin resolving PERA’s indisputably real problems, such disinformation does a disservice to everyone on all sides of this issue.

What’s wrong with the flyer? Without repeating its erroneous claims, here are a couple of examples.

  1. The flyer draws its information from a 2015 report to the Legislative Audit Committee, but carefully cherry picks information from the report to make a case not supported by a careful reading of the full document. For example, the underlying report does not include Cost of Living Adjustments in calculations of the PERA plan costs. There are logical reasons for this exclusions, but not to mention that in the flyer removes a major cost factor without bothering to mention it.
  2. The costs attributed to the PERA plan do not include all of the unfunded liability amortization payments that have had to be added on over time, making it look far more efficient than it actually is.

There are a few other similarly dubious claims that get even more technical. The point here is that whoever is circulating this information is muddying the waters at a time when people of goodwill on all sides are working to find common ground.

The peddlers of this flyer should do everyone a favor and stand down.

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