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State Pension Funds On Solid Grounds

Last updated on Friday, April 1, 2011

(STATEHOUSE) - Indiana’s state pension funds are on solid financial footing, according to the fund’s executive director.

The Public Employees' Retirement Fund and Teachers Retirement Fund have a nearly $14-billion unfunded liability.

But Executive Director Steve Russo says that's well within the range the state can gradually smooth out over the next few decades.

The house has allocated $1.8 billion to the funds in the proposed two-year state budget approved Wednesday night.

Teachers who entered the classroom before 1996 have their pensions funded through a separate TRF account.

That account was set up on a pay-as-you-go basis, and accounts for 80% of the unfunded liability.

Russo says the other accounts are funded at 93% of liabilities, compared to a national average of 80% and dropping.

15 months of market upheaval wiped out $10-billion in assets from the $27-billion in funds.

Over the last two years, the funds have made back 80-percent of the losses.

The funds' contributions in the last year were approximately equal to benefit payouts.

Russo briefed the senate appropriations committee as the panel considers its version of the budget.

Chairman Luke Kenley plans to unveil that plan and call a vote on it on April 11th, following a seventh and final public hearing next week.

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