Last year, Rhode Island General Treasurer and 2011 Manhattan Institute Urban Innovator award winner Gina Raimondo crisscrossed the Ocean State with a simple message to lawmakers, citizens and public employees: the public pension problem was about math, not politics. Her successful pension reform proposal was based on a report entitled "Truth in Numbers," which shined a light on the real costs and liabilities facing her state. It was an honest effort that forced everyone to take a hard look at the facts, and in the end, take action. Now a national, non-partisan coalition of policy organizations and citizen groups - Truth in Pensions - has come together to demand the same sort of transparency in state and local government pension accounting.
This coalition seeks to educate the public about the benefits of using market valuations for pension liabilities, the adverse consequences of using "smoothing" to value pension assets, and the need for greater disclosure about projected future government pension costs. As public pensions continue to eat into state and city budgets, crowding out vital government services that taxpayers need, the public deserves to know the truth about public pensions. I urge our readers to take a moment to visit this informative and interactive new site.