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Baltimore Police and Fire pensions to skyrocket because increases are tied to the stockmarket

I look at it this way, if they ever bring back "The Wire," this could make for some interesting plot lines:

An unusual pension benefit for police and firefighters could cost Baltimore $164.9 million next year, nearly double what the city is now paying and a figure that the city's finance director says taxpayers cannot afford.

[...]If the pension system is not altered before the bill comes due, needed cash could come from raising the city property tax rate 11 percent, or "significant reductions across all agencies, including public safety," Gallagher said. Mayor Sheila Dixon, who has long sought reductions in the city's tax rate of $2.27 per $100 in assessed value, has said both options are unacceptable.

The extra cash is needed largely to shore up a part of the pension program called a variable annuity. The benefit is similar to a cost-of-living increase, but is tied to positive stock market returns. When the market goes up, some of the extra money is given to retirees in the form of a permanent pay increase, an uncommon benefit that has made Baltimore's costs grow. In most pension plans, extra money is plowed back into the asset funds to make up for the bad investment years.

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