Friday, January 30, 2009

Tough economic times = difficult pension obligations for state

Adam Wilson at the Olympian writes today about the difficulties the state faces in our pension obligation to retired employees and those nearing retirement.
As Wilson writes:
The investment fund that pays for the pensions of 453,000 public employees in Washington has taken a massive hit, losing 22 percent of its value in 2008.
The problem is compounded when the money that the state would normally invest and earn on has all but dried up due to the economic downturn and subsequent reduced revenue flowing into the state. Less money flowing into pension investments now means a bigger cut from salary contributions in the future.

When asked by Rep. Steve Conway, Chair of the House Commerce and Labor committee, if he sees an end in sight to these economic troubles, Joe Dear, executive director of the Washington State Investment Board, replied, "Until the credit markets return to more normal functioning, until house prices stabilize, the problems will continue. We've not seen the end of the bad news."

Read Adam’s full story here.