Expert Comments on Today's Release of Pew Report on Texas Pensions
For Immediate Release
Contact Joe Gimenez, 713.478.8034
Expert Comments on Today’s Release of Pew Report on Texas Pensions
Max Patterson, the Executive Director for the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems, is available to speak with reporters about the report released today by the Pew Center On the States, "The Widening Gap: The Great Recession’s Impact on State Pension and Retiree Health Care Costs,” about public employee pensions. Patterson commented:
"The Pew report focuses on statewide systems and shows Texas to be in very good shape. Our state pensions for teachers and state workers have appropriate funding levels to honor commitments to retirees. The state has contributed the amounts required to continue the good health of pensions.
"The Pew report does not include assessment of Texas’ locally-administered pensions for city and county employees, like firefighters, police, and other municipal employees. TEXPERS’ research, and the assessment of Texas state agencies, indicates these systems are in good shape as well. Texans have much to be proud of in the performance of local pension systems.
"TEXPERS is working to acknowledge the strong performance of its local systems. We saluted the Big Spring Firemen’s Relief and Retirement Fund with a congratulatory advertisement in their local newspaper for achieving above average returns with below average risks. For example, they had a 9.54% average annual return for 15 years, a level well above the actuarial assumptions needed to maintain benefits without extra contributions from their city. Similar ads will be placed in Lubbock and other markets.
"For the periods ending in September 2010, the TEXPERS members responding to a survey reported an 8.9 percent average annual return over 20 years and a 7.9% average annual return for over 15 years. Both returns kept pace with or exceeded actuarial assumptions and comparative returns with other benchmarks for public funds.
Patterson can speak specifically to the main contention in the Pew report, which is that government entities need to honor their obligations to fund pensions on a regular yearly schedule.
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The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) is a statewide voluntary nonprofit association that provides quality education to trustees, administrators, professional service providers and employee groups and associations engaged or interested in the management of public employee retirement systems. Today, TEXPERS' member systems represent approximately 300,000 active and retired participants and approximately $475 billion in assets. Learn more at www.TEXPERS.org or www.Texpers.blogspot.com.