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Stapleton knows Colo.’s economic concerns
The Durango Herald

Colorado’s state treasurer is well-known for his concern that the pension promises made to state employees are too magnanimous and will fall short, obligating the state’s general fund to make up the difference. That expecting a year-after-year 8 percent return in the investment marketplace is unrealistic, and when combined with current employee and state payroll contributions will not sustain the defined benefit plan’s payouts.

It is a situation that exists to different degrees in almost all states and is frequently in the news.

But Walker Stapleton, the great-grandson of Denver’s mayor whose name was attached to Denver’s previous close-in airport, has broader concerns about the state’s fiscal direction. He is pleased with a couple of recent accomplishments but is also quick to say that the Legislature is not spending the energy it should on fiscal issues. Fiscal issues are complex, and too frequently are viewed in too short a time frame, he says.

Stapleton, a Republican, has had a career in real-estate development and finance, and is articulate in his arguments.

On the plus side, Stapleton is complimentary of legislation that passed in a strong bipartisan fashion a year ago to require the coordination of the bonding – the certificates of participation, in the jargon – that state agencies offer to fund capital construction. That coordination, among public colleges and universities, or between colleges and another state agency, for example, strengthens the appeal of every offering to lending institutions and thus lowers costs. The ongoing tally also makes clear just how much debt, and what kind, has been created. That had not easily been known.

State treasurer saves us from bad investment
The Gazette editorial

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton lives in a world of numbers, math and economic principles. Numbers speak truth, which is not what some other politicians want. So they've tried to marginalize Stapleton as a man out of step. Their only problem doubles as Stapleton's greatest asset: Truth surfaces. Quickly, sometimes.

Stapleton was the state's chief crusader against Amendment 66, a massive tax increase rejected by more than 65 percent of Colorado voters. He repeatedly warned against investing $1 billion a year into education without a solution to the crisis looming for Colorado's Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), which includes teachers. Stapleton didn't see a way government could stop Amendment 66 from bailing out PERA, an outdated, underfunded, defined-benefit retirement program based on unrealistic dividend hopes.

PERA return rates need tweaking
By Walker Stapleton
Pueblo Chieftain Opinon

Entering an election year, Colorado voters can count on one constant: Any issue that is slightly contentious will be politicized to a point where finding any truth in the debate is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. This is an unfortunate byproduct of the hyper-partisan political environment that elected officials must operate in these days.

Colorado’s pension system, PERA, is one of the issues that people constantly try to politicize. Unfortunately, my call for the responsible reform of PERA, which is $26 billion in debt, is the target of much of this nonsense. The political rabble-rousers attempt to turn a math problem into a partisan political game, doing a severe disservice to Colorado’s 500,000 pensioners. They say my call for reasonable reforms is an excuse to cut the pensions of retired school teachers and other public workers. This is complete hogwash and is wholly untrue.

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. If you are a current retiree, your retirement is safe. If you are a current employee planning for retirement, it is my goal to help protect your retirement by making sure we take the steps necessary to make sure the retirement that you have been counting on and working toward is there for you and your family.

Treasurer Walker Stapleton urges parties to put aside politics for Colorado pension plan
The Denver Post/ The Spot blog
By Joey Bunch

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is saying enough with the politics when it comes to pensions for state workers and teachers. Monday he sent a letter to Democrat and Republican leaders urging them to work together to fix Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association fund, which Stapleton contends is headed for a financial hole the size of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison — a Colorado landmark the National Park Service calls “deep,steep and narrow.”

The metaphor is mine, but it’s an apt description, given the past politics that created narrow solutions for the pension fund’s $23 billion-plus deficit, money needed to pay retirees over the next 30 years. At Walker’s insistence, the PERA board last month voted 8-7 to lower the projected rate of return on investments from 8 percent to a more conservative 7.5 percent. While it’s a step toward reality, it also will increase the projected deficit, at least on paper, since that estimate means less income from investments to help pay benefits.

PERA transparency gets boost from Gov. Hickenlooper
The Denver Post editorial

For 2 ½ years, Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton has doggedly pursued data in the state pension system that he believes would help him better understand the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association's future liabilities.

In response, PERA has sought to portray Stapleton as a mischievous rogue rather than a dedicated public servant. Fortunately, that tactic has become a whole lot harder now that Gov. John Hickenlooper has joined Stapleton in asking the state Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision that denied the treasurer access to the data.

Stapleton is a Republican. Hickenlooper is a Democrat. Their joint cause in this case is good government.

Colorado PERA lowers investment expectation to
7.5 percent return

The Denver Post
By Jennifer Brown

The board that oversees Colorado's pension fund for state employees narrowly voted Friday to lower its expectations on investments, the latest among many states reigning in long-term stock market assumptions.

Colorado's Public Employees' Retirement Association voted 8-7 to lower its expected rate of return on investments to 7.5 percent, down from 8 percent.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has urged the board for three years to lower its rate of return, warning of an eventual collapse and bailout of the pension system for 300,000 teachers and state workers.

The fund has $23 billion in unfunded liability — money it owes to current and future retirees over the next 30 years but does not have in its account today. Friday's vote means the pension fund's unfunded liability will increase by about $6 billion to $29 billion, Stapleton estimated.

The state will have to make up the shortfall through increased payments to the fund from school districts, cities and state government, he said.

Treasurer Walker Stapleton announces re-election campaign and leadership team
Press Release

DENVER, CO—Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton announced today that he will seek re-election to serve a second term as Colorado’s Treasurer. First elected in 2010, Treasurer Stapleton has spent his first term successfully advocating fiscally responsible policies for Colorado.

During his first term, Treasurer Stapleton has used his post in the Treasurer’s office to put pro-jobs and pro-taxpayer policies in place. Among his many accomplishments are consolidating Colorado’s debt issuance process, which has already saved taxpayer money, and the refinancing of Colorado’s unemployment insurance saving businesses money and protecting jobs.

“Our accomplishments in the Treasurer’s office are not partisan or controversial but examples of common sense solutions for the taxpayers of Colorado,” stated Treasurer Stapleton. “My office is not concerned with grabbing headlines but rather we’ve focused on keeping our head down, safely investing taxpayers money, correcting inefficient government policies and serving Colorado’s taxpayers. During my second term, I will continue following these policies.” 
Read Full Press Release...

Stapleton legislation paying off for Coloradans
Summit Daily

Legislation written in 2012 by Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is already making a positive impact on Colorado taxpayers, according to a treasurer’s office news release.

Please visit the media page for more information on
what Walker has done for Colorado

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