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Eye On Boise

‘A very tough environment’

The news from the state Endowment Fund Investment Board, which reported to the state Land Board today about the endowment’s investment earnings, was anything but sunny. The fund lost 13.8 percent in October, and as of Oct. 31, had lost 21.9 percent of its value for the fiscal year to date. “The results in November have not been good either,” investments manager Larry Johnson told the Land Board. “We’ve lost about 7.5 percent through yesterday, for the first part of November.” Yet, he said, “All of our investment managers are performing as we would expect in this type of environment – it’s a very tough environment.”

Revenues from state endowment lands, which also, like the fund, benefit public schools and other state institutions, have been “running about equal or better” so far this fiscal year, Johnson said.

In fiscal year 2008, total balances in the state’s endowment fund increased $12 million, or 1 percent, to $1.125 billion. That was before the losses in the current fiscal year, which started July 1. Distributions to beneficiaries of the fund, including public schools, rose 7.7 percent from the previous year, to $39 million. The total investment loss, before fees, was 2.1 percent for the fiscal year, compared to an average gain of 10.2 percent over the past five years. Earnings from state lands for the fiscal year were $70 million, a 1.5 percent drop from the previous record year but still strong.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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