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Eye On Boise

Wed., July 22, 2009, 7:29 a.m.

When a 17.9% loss is good…

Idaho's permanent endowment fund, whose earnings benefit public schools and universities, has been battered by the market in recent years. But there was relatively good news this week: For the fiscal year that ended July 1, the fund was down just 17.9 percent. That may sound like a huge loss. But in February, the fund was down 31 percent. "So we made some significant ground since the low point," Chris Halvorson, an investment officer with the Endowment Fund Investment Board, told the state Land Board. For the month of June, the fund had a tiny, 0.1 percent gain. Another hopeful sign: Through July 20, the new fiscal year (20 days in) showed a nearly 3 percent gain.

The next question is what the annual fund distribution will be to schools and other institutions for the next year. "Based on the information available today, EFIB staff would recommend that distributions be maintained at FY 2010 levels," the investment board's report to the Land Board said. The endowment board will examine investment results through the end of July and an updated forecast of land revenues before setting on its final recommendation at its Aug. 12 meeting.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.