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Eye On Boise

PERSI fund shows $1 billion gain

Idaho's public employee retirement fund gained a billion dollars on its investments in the past year, and fund officials say it's healthy, despite a $2.8 billion unfunded liability over the long term. "We've just made a good rebound," said Patrice Perow, Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho spokeswoman. "We've been healthy - we're in good shape, particularly compared to our peers."

PERSI ended the fiscal year on June 30 77 percent funded, up from 73.3 percent a year earlier, when the unfunded liability hit $3 billion. That figure prompted Idaho House Republicans to push this year to block a scheduled 1 percent cost-of-living increase for state and local government retirees, but the move, which angered retirees who said lawmakers were taking away their money, not the state's, fell short in the Senate. "I just chalked that up as lessons learned," said House Speaker Lawerence Denney. He said, "That's good news that they're gaining. I just hope everything continues."

Experts recommend that pension funds be 80 percent funded as a benchmark; Idaho's was funded at 105.1 percent as recently as 2007, and 2009 and 2010 are the only fiscal years in the past decade that it fell below 80 percent.You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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