Public Pension Transparency Bill Reintroduced in the House

February 11, 2011 ( - U.S. Representative Devin Nunes (R-California) and Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) announced the reintroduction of the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A press release on Nunes’ Web site said the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act will establish new transparency rules, allowing plans to report their existing financial data but also requiring them to report their methods and assumptions. Public employee pension plans will also have to report their liabilities using a uniform accounting standard that will provide realistic rates of return and tie assets to more reasonable fair market valuations.  

To incentivize transparency, the bill links the creation of new federally subsidized debt at the state and local level with an honest accounting of current public pension liabilities, the announcement said. Failure to report will result in the suspension of all federal tax-exempt bonding authority for the jurisdiction(s) whose employees are covered by the non-compliant plan.  

“Public employee pensions represent trillions of debt carried by the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, this debt is masked by accounting practices that would never be tolerated in the private sector. It’s time to open up the books. Once we enact this bill, retirees, government workers, policy makers, and most importantly the people who are paying the bills, can make up their own minds about the soundness of public pensions,” said Nunes, the bill’s principal author, in the press release.  

Text of the bill is here.