PERSI, the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, dropped from $12 billion to $8.5 billion in the past year, losing $3.5 billion. "We're down 25 percent for calendar year '08," Jody Olson, chairman of the PERSI board, told JFAC this morning. In fiscal year 2008, the fund was down just 4.3 percent. Rather than change contribution rates, the PERSI board voted in December to adopt the minimum cost-of-living increase for retirees in the coming year, 1 percent. "Up until last year, our retirees had full purchasing power from the time they retired," Olson told lawmakers.
The cost-of-living increase each year for PERSI, by law, can be set by the board at anywhere from 1 percent, if the consumer price index goes up at least 1 percent, up to either 6 percent or the CPI. The CPI increase was 5.4 percent. Don Drum, PERSI executive director, said a contribution rate increase likely will be sought next year. PERSI was 105 percent funded at the beginning of 2008, and 93 percent funded at the end of the year, Drum said. "We're anticipating that losses are cyclical and the market will rebound," he told lawmakers. "We're doing fairly well in comparison to our peer groups."