How Pensions Are Bankrupting Cities and States and How to Fix It

Issues and Ideas Forum


State pension systems across Michigan are facing a crisis that threatens workers, retirees, businesses, taxpayers and residents who rely on public services. For decades, state legislators and governors, Republican and Democrat, have promised billions more in pensions than has been saved to pay for them. And despite now spending an extra $1 billion more than the state did just five years ago, policymakers still aren’t making the full payment required to pay the estimated costs of the largest pension system. This repeated underfunding has led to large liabilities that will require severe cuts to public services. 

Retiree benefits are a national crisis, but some cities and states have made significant reforms that are saving money and preventing liabilities being pushed off onto future generations. This event will discuss the scope of the problem and what Michigan should be doing to solve it.

ConstantPete Constant is a senior fellow at Reason Foundation, where he works on the Pension Reform Project. He was previously a member of the San Jose City Council who helped usher through a ballot measure that reformed retiree benefits in the city and passed with 69 percent of the vote.

LiljenquistDan Liljenquist is a former state senator from Utah who spearheaded pension reforms which shifted employees from a defined benefit plan onto a defined contribution. For his role in the Utah reforms, Liljenquist was named a 2011 “Public Official of the Year” by Governing Magazine, and has since a become national expert on this issue and highlighted by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among other outlets. He serves on the board of the Retirement Security Initiative.

NesbittAric Nesbitt is a state representative for the 66th House District. He is the House Majority Floor Leader and the Chairman of the Energy Committee. He lives in Lawton, Michigan.

Lunch is free and is included with reservations.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 14, 2016
11:30 a.m. - Check-in and lunch available
Noon to 1:00 p.m. - Program with Q&A
WHERE: Radisson Lansing Hotel at the Capitol
Michigan II & III
111 North Grand Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at 989-698-1905 or

Registration deadline is Fri., Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.

Please note: We are unable to guarantee lunch for any guest if the registration is received after the deadline.


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