Friday, February 17, 2012

CA Pension Funds Under-Perform (again)

CalPERS - the CA Pension fund for state, city and county employees - returned an anemic 1.1% for all of 2011.  This makes their 10-year average 5.5%.  CalPERS assumes a 7.75% annual return on investment in order to fully fund the pensions of cities like Sunnyvale, County, and CA state employees.

The pension obligations are fixed, so CalPERS' failure to meet those projections means the difference has to be made from the general fund of the various levels of government.  

CA spent an additional $1.8B this year on additional funding for CalPERS and is slated to spend an additional $3.15B next year to make up for CalPERS' deficit.

Sunnyvale will likely spend more next year to make up the unfunded liability assigned to the city by CalPERS.  I believe Sunnyvale spent $15M out of a General Fund budget of $129M (about 12%) on contributions to CalPERS based on the City budget slide show here:
More at:

For more info, see also

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pension Coincidence - this year only!

I admit I like numbers so here's an interesting coincidence about the two largest CA state pensions.

You know that $100,000 "Club" - the web site that lists all those with CA state pensions over $100K/year?  Here:

Looking at CalPERS, it turns out that if you take the average of the 2nd highest pension = $300K (the highest of $500K is an "outlier" so we can ignore it for this calculation) and the lowest = $100K you get $200K.  If you multiply that by the 9,111 retirees you get over $1.8 Billion.  The coincidence is that $1.8 Billion is only slightly less than the amount the legislature had to add to CalPERS from the general fund (over and above the state's usual contribution).

Looking at CalSTRS and doing the same calculation you get $1 Billion.  Which is almost as much as the amount that CA had to take out of the general fund to add to CalSTRS this year. (Over and above the 'normal' state contribution).

This coincidence is only for this year (sort of like last year's date of 11/11/11).  Next year the contribution to CalPERS will rise to $3.15B so no more coincidences for a while.

The "general fund" is where money for schools and support of the poor and disabled come from.  For example, the state funding for the CA Community College system is roughly equal to that $3.15B going to CalPERS next year.  Maybe we'll just shut down the CC system to pay for the pensions for CalPERS $100K+ retirees (including the guy retiring on $500K).

This is a government wealth transfer program - but from the "have nots" to the "haves".  FDR must be spinning in his grave.