The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 25, 2011
Study says pension funds bouncing back

State and local government retirement systems had nearly $3 trillion in assets at the end of last year, according to a brief released this month by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the National Council on Teacher Retirement. That was a 35 percent increase since the funds collectively bottomed out at the end of March 2009.

A joint press release by the two pro-defined benefits organizations says that "recent plan redesign efforts underway in virtually every state" and higher median returns of about 13 percent in 2010, help explain the increase.

The release quotes a blast from Keith Brainard, NASRA's research director, aimed at public pension critics who use older numbers: "Discussions of pension funding should use these more recent figures instead of depressed asset values that are no longer accurate. Out-of-date numbers create misleading impressions about the true financial condition of public pension plans and their state and local government sponsors."

Data cherry picking was one criticism that Treasurer Bill Lockyer leveled last month at the controversial Little Hoover Commission pension report.Strong Investment Gains and Legislative Changes Speeding Public Pension Recovery

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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