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Federal officials charged a Michigan-based vehicle parts manufacturer for misusing $34 million in assets from two retirement funds, according to The Detroit News. The U.S. Labor Department filed suit against Metavation LLC, which is owned by Revstone LLC, for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Metavation’s parent company improperly loaned the $34 million to its other related companies. “Retirees who rely on pension plans should not have … Continue reading»

during a gala at City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, March 21, 2012. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

As other states struggle to balance budgets and pay liabilities during hard economic times, Utah has managed to stay strong amid the chaos. It’s Utah’s industrious, youthful workforce and a business-friendly 5 percent tax rate that helps the state dodge the national economic downturn, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. “The overriding factor working in our favor is that Utah is seen as an island … Continue reading»

Government debt defaults more frequent than thought

California state capital. Photo: prayitno via Flickr

Government debt isn’t as safe as once thought. At least that’s the message from research released Wednesday by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The stigma that municipal bonds are the more secure investments, along with federal tax exemptions, make them enticing to household investors, the economists said in the study. Individual investors in the U.S. hold $1.879 billion in municipal debt, which is more … Continue reading»

Indiana in pension trouble, other states may be too

Indianapolis skyline. Photo: bnpositive via Flickr

INDIANAPOLIS — Poor investment performance for Indiana’s pensions could mean trouble for taxpayers and beneficiaries in the state, and officials say they won’t be the only state with problems. Investments made through the Indiana Public Retirement System had only a 1 percent return compared to the 7 percent it expected, according to the Associated Press. The drop in returns raises the state’s unfunded pension liabilities by $1.4 billion … Continue reading»

Unions fear slashed benefits with Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget

FILE - In this April 5, 2011 file photo, Republican Vice Presidential candidate, current House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., introduces his controversial "Path to Prosperity" budget recommendations, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ryan was one of the harshest critics of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, but months after Congress approved the nearly $800 billion package Ryan as a congressman was trying to steer money under the program to at least two companies in his home state of Wisconsin. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Labor unions are lashing out in defense of health care and retirement benefits after Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. The American Federation of Government Employees opposes a rise in employee contributions to the federal retirement system, according to Pensions & Investments online. Under Ryan’s plan, the contribution would jump to 6.2 percent, according to the union. Federal employees currently contribute 0.8 percent. “That … Continue reading»

A list of Truth in Taxation public hearings in Utah

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A number of state-required Truth in Taxation meetings are scheduled for Tuesday evening and more by the end of the month, giving Utah taxpayers opportunities to express their opinion on property tax increases. Truth in Taxation meetings are required if a municipality decides it wants to raise the certified tax rates on property. State statutes require municipalities to advertise the change in July and August to inform taxpayers. … Continue reading»

Sources: Bloomberg, Deseret News

Some states are getting less optimistic about their pension portfolios. Massachusetts, a state with $50 billion in pension-fund assets, said it might be lowering its 8.25 percent expected rate of return on investment to 8 percent with an option to go lower, according to Bloomberg. Steven Grossman, the state’s treasurer, is working towards legislative support on a bill that would cut the rate. “I will predict right now … Continue reading»

Utah cities, towns may lose out with sales tax revisions

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SALT LAKE CITY — Proposed revisions to the way state sales tax is collected and distributed could mean some Utah cities and towns will lose out on revenue. Under the current system, sales tax revenue is split 50-50 between the municipality where the sale happened, or point of sale, and the other cities in the state based on population. New revisions to the sales tax formula would add … Continue reading»