"Infinite" is not a word you expect to find in a report on municipal spending. It's more of a science fiction–type term — Tremble, Earthling, before the infinite might of Galaxor! But there it was, in a recent report on San Francisco's finances: Spending on the city's employee retirement system in the past decade had grown at an "infinite" rate.I actually didn't even know there was such a thing as an infinite rate.
Naturally, that's an exaggeration. If you do the math, the city's retirement costs for employees in the past 10 years actually grew only 66,733 percent.
Still, you might call that a Galaxor-sized number.
In fiscal year 1999-2000, the city spent about $300,000 on its retirement system. In fiscal year 2009-10, it was $200.5 million. Benefits alone — not salaries, just benefits — for current and retired employees this year are budgeted at $993 million. Spending on retirees' health care and pensions is conservatively projected to triple within five years.
And after that? Infinite.
Let It Bleed
By Joe Eskenazi and Benjamin Wachs
Wednesday, Oct 20 2010
San Francisco Weekly News
Monday, November 22, 2010
on beyond zebra
A friend sent me a link to this story last night: