A Letter to the Editor in the 10/31/06 Tomahawk Leader:
To the Editor:
A new regulation coming from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 45 requires school districts and any other public employers giving benefits to employees report these benefits to the public by including the actual amount of the cost and the dollar number in their budgets.
As Ronald Snell, the director of state services for the national conference of state legislatures said, “when the numbers are produced they’re going to be shocking.”
To give an idea of the cost ahead, the Rhinelander School District has already started to address the issue. They hired an actuary, which according to the regulation must be done. He has already finished the work required. The document gives the projected pension and health care insurance obligations that the school is liable for up to the year 2045. The district’s liability is $26.6 million dollars through 2045. The 2008-09 budget requires the district to invest $3.3 million per year to pay for this estimated liability. They currently budget $800,000 now so will have to come up with another $2.6 million. This is a really big deal. Union officials have said it’s not their fault municipalities put themselves in a hole by promising more than they can deliver. Now we will all pay the price.