Summary of Show-Me Institute Pension Presentation in the News-Leader
Today’s Springfield News-Leader has a detailed article about the city’s pension issues, which also discusses the Show-Me Institute’s presentation at a luncheon yesterday and comments by our executive vice president, Dr. Joseph Haslag, before the pension commission last night.
Actuarial expert Richard C. Dreyfuss participated in yesterday’s lunch presentation, discussing Springfield’s pension problems (he also wrote a policy study for us last year detailing Missouri’s public pension issues). Springfield is in a very tricky situation with its pension, and the privatization of City Utilities would be one way to address it — unless this guy gets to decide how to fix the problem. I feel I must give one correction to a statement in this column, when he said that private utilities, aka IOUs, “are not accountable to the communities they serve. IOUs do not have a local Board for Utilities or City Council to report to.”
First, private utilities are generally more regulated than public utilities. Second, Springfield is free to require reporting to a local utility board as a condition of any sale or franchise agreement with a private utility. Springfield might see a decrease in the price offered for CU if it did insisted on such a requirement, but it is certainly an option. The Public Service Commission and Dept. of Natural Resources would still be the dominant regulators, but Springfield could add additional requirements if it so chose.