PERSI, the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, has seen its fortunes improve dramatically since the economic downturn, lawmakers learned this morning, and during fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, PERSI reached an all-time high asset value in excess of $13 billion. Gains have continued since then, legislative budget analyst Robyn Lockett told JFAC this morning during the joint budget committee’s interim meeting in Pocatello. By the end of the fiscal year, PERSI’s funding ratio had climbed to 87 percent; systems with funding levels above 80 percent are considered top performers by the Pew Center on the States. “PERSI is solidly in that elite group,” Lockett said.
State law requires contribution increases, for both employees and employers, when the amortization period for unfunded actuarial accrued liability exceeds 25 years; when that happened, a three-year phased increase was approved by the PERSI board in 2008, but postponed because the state couldn’t afford it in 2009. The increase kicked in this year, fiscal year 2014; it was the first increase since 2004. Now, however, the amortization period has dropped to 12.1 years. So the next phase of the rate increase scheduled for next year, fiscal year 2015, could be postponed; the PERSI board will vote on that issue at its meeting Oct. 15. “There is some speculation that they might postpone that increase,” Lockett told JFAC.