Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Remain Calm, State Employees

An AP story that appears to have originated here [this link requires registration], titled "Retirement fund safe despite loss, Tenn. state employees are assured" has some interesting information in it.

Bad news first:
The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System has lost $2.5 billion the last two years, said state Treasurer Steve Adams.

Then things get interesting:
The pension fund hit a high point--nearly $25 billion--in early 2001, but it now contains about $22.5 billion, Adams said.

In other words, it's lost 10% of its value. But there's more bad news:
The system's losses may force increased contributions from state and local governments, [Director of Retirement, Ed] Hennessee said. The state has already added $11 million to its original $250 million contribution this fiscal year.

Hennessee said the state dropped its contributions to the fund from 15 percent to 3.4 percent as the economy grew during the last decade....

[President of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Gary] Findlay said state pension funds are much stronger now than they were ten years ago, no matter how they have fared during the last year. Records show Tennessee's fund was at $7.6 billion in 1989.

Holey moley! The pension fund's value has tripled over the last decade as the State's contributions have fallen by nearly 75%! And this with the last four years' budget problems.

I want some of that action.

Can one of Half-Bakered's readers point me to information on how many people are being covered by the State pension fund? How has that number grown over the past decade? What does that work out to, on a per-capita basis?

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

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