Weak Stocks Mean More Pension Hit to SF Taxpayers

Struggling stocks make for wider SF budget deficit hole.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012  |  Updated 3:58 PM PDT
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Weak Stocks Mean More Pension Hit to SF Taxpayers

AP

San Francisco taxpayers will be asked to fork over more money to cover for underperforming stocks in the city's pension portfolio.

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You care about the stock market, even if you say you don't. When Wall Street fails, it means pricier parking tickets on Mission Street.

Underperforming stocks in San Francisco's official city investment portfolio means a greater hit to city taxpayers to cover subequently rising pension costs, which will in turn mean budget cuts or new revenue-generating streams -- like beloved parking citations, for example.

The city's Retirement Board narrowly approved reducing projections on returns from the city's portfolio from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent, according to reports.

Most private citizens would be thrilled to have such a return rate on their 401ks, but reducing the revenue projections even by a quarter of one percent means $60 million added to the city's budget deficit, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Mayor Ed Lee resisted the change, he told The Examiner on Monday. "It was going to make things harder for us in budgeting and finding an extra $60 million," if the Retirement Board made the move, the newspaper reported.

But since many 401ks are losing money based on losing stocks -- and since the city's pension fund is based on those same stocks -- the Retirement Board has little other choice.
 

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