Vail Daily letter: Not informative
Vince Emmer’s questioning of spending priorities (Valley Voices, Thursday’s Vail Daily) contains comparisons that call for clarification.
Emmer compares a $28 billion “shortfall” in PERA retirement funding to the state funding of Bustang, a statewide CDOT bus service.
He writes that the under-funded (at net present value, with no provision for future returns) PERA plan would cost $12,000 per “Colorado family” — if we had to eliminate the deficit today, which isn’t how pensions work or are evaluated. Yes, a PERA deficit is troubling, but it has been primarily caused by nine years of federally manipulated zero interest rate policy, which has crushed all savers who are statutorily or otherwise limited in risk (stock market) exposure.
Emmer then goes on to bash the popular CDOT Bustang service, without detailing its costs or revenues.
Per CDOT, Bustang cost $10 million to start and costs $3 million a year to operate. That’s about $1.50 per family per year, when amortizing the cost of startup with operating expenses.
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Comparing these two programs and asking us to choose between them, without presenting the Bustang numbers or an explanation of the underlying mechanics involved with PERA’s investment portfolio, is propaganda, not an effort to inform taxpayers about a potentially serious issue.