Media underreports the truth about Idaho's pension system


Sen. Cliff Bayer told IdahoReporter.com state lawmakers keep a close eye on state staffing levels.

A widely-publicized story the first week of the 2013 legislative session reported that Idaho’s pension system is doing better, bouncing back and exceeding expectations with a 7.44 percent rate of return so far in January.

What isn’t mentioned is that the pension system produced a lackluster yearlong rate of return of just 1.62 percent in the fiscal year ending June 2012. The story goes on to discuss the pension system’s unfunded liability, which the state pegs at $1.6 billion, but which organizations that track public pension performance, the American Enterprise Institute and State Budget Solutions, say is probably higher because Idaho bases its unfunded liability on forecasted returns instead of actual returns.

The story also inaccurately says Idaho taxpayers will be paying $2 million more because of increased contribution rates into the pension system by government agencies. The figure is closer to $13 million.

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2 Comments

  1. Bruce Peterson

    I have been trying to communicate w/ my legislators re: the PERS system heading towards obliviion, but no one cares to listen. As a tax preparer who sees the annual benefits receieved by many retirees, it seems impossible to have people retire at 60 as most can, and receive benefits that in some cases are nearly 70% of their ending salaries. Based upon a 10 or 11% annual funding rate of a persons gross wages into PERS, how can they receive 70% of ending wages for the next 20 or 30 years? I would appreciate a lesson in this investment strategy so I can achieve the same results!

  2. Patsy Mael

    How do we know who to beleve about anything when the people that are suposed to have the best enterest for the
    country and the people do not listen to the people?