Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security Respond to Outdated Pew Center Pension Report

For Immediate Release: April 26, 2011
 
Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security Respond to Outdated Pew Center Pension Report
 
SACRAMENTO - The PEW Center on the States newest histrionic report is the latest example of maneuvering facts to fit desired headlines and using outdated data for political gain. It cites figures from 2008 and 2009, at the lowest point for the economy and stock market, providing a useless snapshot of a long-term issue.

By the end of 2010, public pension system asset values nationwide were $2.93 trillion – a 35 percent jump from their 2009 low point, according to new research by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and the National Council on Teacher Retirement. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System posted a solid 12.2 percent return at the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year and earned 12.7 percent in calendar year 2010. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, the California Public Employees' Retirement System earned a 13.3 percent return.
Pension payments amount to a small part of state and local government spending. In California, public pensions make up less than 5 percent of the state budget. California’s entire contribution to retirement for state employees is less than 5 percent of the state budget.
The state of California pays less as a percentage of payroll for pensions today than it did in 1980.
“Like so many sectors of the economy, pension trusts have fluctuated dramatically in recent years.  It would be irresponsible to base major policy decisions based on short-term and outdated information,” said Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security, which represents 1.5 million public employees and retirees.

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