Sonoma County Pension Fund

A source at the Sonoma County Employee  Retirement Assn.) told me the County pension fund has lost 28.5% YTD (year to date) as of the end of October.  January 1st the fund was roughly $1,560,000,000…the end of October the fund was at $1,100,000,000…sustaining a loss of approx. $460,000,000.  Add the November declines in the stock market and the Sonoma County Employee retirement fund surely has lost over $500,000,000 YTD.   This is a staggering figure with profound social consequences for everyone in Sonoma County including current
and retired  County workers.

The County’s payroll contributions have increased for General Service employees from 11.92% in 2000 to 26.01% in 2007. Sonoma County retirement is a “defined benefit” guaranteed by the taxpayers.  If the fund loses 50% the difference will be made up with our tax dollars that once were relegated to roads and infrastructure, Human Services and Mental Health, grants to volunteer and non-profit organizations.  In order to fund these massive unfunded obligations there will be huge cuts in essential services and/or government will have to change the constitution and void these promises that can’t be kept.

We are in the midst of the largest transference of wealth from younger
generations to older generations in the history of mankind. Either we reform these institutions now or a societal collapse similar to what happened to the Soviet Union will remake our society in the not too distant future (maybe now?). I hope you spend the time to acquaint yourself and your readers with a very complicated issue that places us dangerously close to an abyss we should endeavor to avoid.

Tom Lynch

Member, Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association

Comments are closed.