Pension Debt: Omaha’s Billion Dollar Problem

It is often said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This maxim does not bode well for the City of Omaha Employees’ Retirement System and the City of Omaha Police & Fire Retirement System. The history of these systems is one of four problematic trends fostered by two irresponsible behaviors: inaccurate actuarial assumptions and irresponsible pension fund management. And it is not clear that the right lessons have yet been learned. This policy brief discusses those four problematic trends and explores possible solutions that would secure the future of Omaha’s two public employee retirement systems. These trends are not new—studies from the Platte Institute have highlighted growing unfunded liabilities in Omaha for several years. But the trends are getting worse, and each year they are ignored adds to the bill taxpayers will ultimately have to cover for poorly managed retirement benefits.

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