Ask any municipal bond expert what keeps them awake at nights and I guarantee that concerns over the escalating costs of pensions and post-retirement benefits for municipalities is on their top 10 list. The pension landscape is changing; as costs increase, the balance between fiscal, ethical and moral responsibility becomes more precarious. Analysts worry about how the costs will be funded and whether the costs will impact or interrupt debt repayment.
I was afforded the opportunity to moderate an expert panel on pension reform at the National Federation of Municipal Analysts annual conference last week and came away believing that while the problems are large, they are not insurmountable. Here are the key takeaways from the experts.