California teachers pension fund in need of contribution hike -watchdog

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:44pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20 (Reuters) - California's pension fund for teachers could run out of money by 2044 unless contributions to it are increased to address its $73 billion unfunded liability, the state's budget watchdog agency said on Wednesday.

The Legislative Analyst's Office added that the California State Teachers' Retirement System's unfunded liability may be the most significant long-term fiscal challenge facing the government of the most populous U.S. state.

Additional contributions of $4.5 billion to the retirement system, known as Calstrs, would fully fund its obligations in 30 years, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office.

The retirement system serves roughly 860,000 people and is the second-largest U.S. public pension fund, is funded by teachers and other school employees, school districts and the state government. Combined they are currently contributing $5.7 billion to the pension fund.

The state is paying about $1.4 billion, districts pay about $2.2 billion and teachers and other school employees pay $2.1 billion.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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