West Virginia public employee pensions see improvement
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog
CHARLESTON — The state’s unfunded public pension liabilities are shrinking after taking hits during the recent recession.
Officials with the state Consolidated Public Retirement Board (CPRB) gave a presentation to members of the House Pensions and Retirement Committee today.
The CPRB manages nine pension plans: The Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), the Teachers’ Defined Contribution system (TDC), two State Police plans, the Judges’ Retirement System (JRS), the Deputy Sheriffs’ Retirement System (DSRS), the Emergency Medical Services Retirement System (EMSRS), and the Municipal Police and Firefighters Retirement System (MPFRS).
“We are pleased that each of the plans administered by the CPRB has had an increase in its funding percentage in the past reported period,” said Jeff Fleck, executive director of the CPRB. “It’s very positive news for the past year.”
The two largest plans, PERS and TRS, saw modest improvements between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2011. PERS improved by 3.8 percent, from 74.6 percent funded to 78.4 percent funded by July 1, 2011. The fund has an unfunded liability of $1.192 billion.
TRS, which has the highest unfunded liability of all the plans managed by CPRB, improved by 7.2 percent, from 46.5 percent funded in fiscal year 2010 to 53.7 percent funded by fiscal year 2011. The plan has an unfunded liability of $4.37 billion.
Other funds had even better improvements. State Police Plan A increased its funding by 11 percent to 79.5 percent funded, while State Police Plan B increased its funding by 13.3 percent, from 76.2 percent to 89.5 percent. The Judges’ Retirement system had the best improvement and is overfunded, increasing by 23.2 percent to 130.3 percent.
The plans for deputy sheriffs and emergency medical services improved by 9.6 percent and 7.4 percent respectively. from 46.5 percent funded in fiscal year 2010 to 53.7 percent funded by fiscal year 2011. The plan has an unfunded liability of $4.37 billion.
The total unfunded liability for fiscal year 2011 for all plans is $5.709 billion. The market value for assets in the pensions plans is $10.520 billion.
The state’s pensions are much better than fiscal year 2009, when the Pew Center on the States listed West Virginia as the second worst funded public pension program in the nation behind Illinois for that year.
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