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bear half their retirements costs, employees of many local governments do not. Instead, cities such as Reno pay the entire contribution, and also bear the total cost of any increases in that contribution rate. This is supposed to be in lieu of giving additional pay raises to those employees, on top of the cost of living adjustments and the automatic increases, called step increases, that public employees already get each year they are employed. Because of changes to the law in the 1970s, the state automatically increases the salary on which retirement benefits are based by 12 percent for regular employees and 20 percent for police and fire employees. This is meant to "true up" the salary for those employees who ostensibly make a lower salary because the employer is making the full contribution to PERS.Addressing the concernsLeiss said the system has taken measures to address nearly all of those concerns.Government employers and employees are paying additional money into the system to reduce the unfunded liability each year. That amount that must be paid each year is determined by an independent actuary. If their projections are correct, the unfunded liability should be erased by 2036, Leiss said.The dropping ratio of active employees to retirees doesn't concern Leiss because investment income from the trust fund pays 80 percent of the retiree benefits, while active employees prefund their own benefits, she said.The plan's solvency depends on the assumption of an 8 percent average return on investment an assumption that bothers some financial experts, especially in times of economic distress. But Leiss points out that the plan has made an average of 9.3 percent since 1984.The problem over which PERS has no say, however, is the cost to government employers for maintaining the pension benefit.The contribution rate employers must pay is set by the Legislature every other year and is based on an actuarial determination of how much is needed to keep the plan solvent.In 1975, that rate was 15 percent of salary for regular employees and 17 percent of salary for police and fire employees. Then, the employee paid half and the employer paid half. Today, the rate is 25.72 percent of salary for regular employees and 40.54 percent for police and fire employees.Ostensibly, employees and employers are still supposed to split that cost in half. State employees, for example, can choose between taking a lower salary and having the state pay their entire contribution, or taking the full salary and paying half the contribution rate themselves.But decades ago, the Legislature changed the law to mandate many local employers pay the entire contribution. At the time of that change, government employers said they would pick up the contribution rate in lieu of giving a pay raise that year.

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Growing cost of PERS raises worries

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the government employers are making their mandated contribution payments, and measures are being taken to ensure the plan will become fully funded in 22 years."We are paying all liabilities as they come due, and we are well positioned to pay all future liabilities as they come due," said Tina Leiss, executive officer of PERS. "We have a $32 billion trust fund that is used solely to pay the benefits of the retirees."Independent studies have also shown that Nevada's is among the healthier plans compared to similar systems across the United States because of the conservative way in which it is managed.But that comparative report doesn't necessarily mean the system is healthy, particularly because many of the same problems plague all similar plans across the country. According to a 2012 analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts, a national $757 billion gap existed between states' assets and the cost of their pension obligations a number that is growing.Nevada's unfunded liability accounts for $12.8 billion of that growing gap."It's a mathematical issue. Math doesn't play around," said Robert Chisel, the city of Reno's finance director. "If the unfunded liability is growing, something is wrong with (the actuaries') assumptions. We will very likely continue to have to increase our contributions."To ensure enough money is in the trust fund, government employers and employees will likely have to increase the percentage of their salaries that they pay into the plan, Chisel said.To better gauge the health of the system, the Reno Gazette Journal has requested salary and benefit information on PERS members. On April 11, a judge ruled that the agency had to comply with previous rulings to make public the data.Here's what troubles financial experts like Chisel: Since 2000, the system's funding ratio has been on a downward trend, dropping from about 84 percent funded in 2000 to 69 percent funded today. In other words, if Converse Full Black High

More than 52,000 people former teachers, firefighters, mechanics, football coaches, engineers, police officers and janitors among them rely on Nevada's Public Employees' Retirement System for some or all of their retirement income.But the financial stability of the system central to the livelihood of so many is becoming increasingly expensive for governments to maintain largely because of the growing cost of funding benefits for existing employees as well as playing catch up for inadequate funding in the past.The administrators of PERS maintain the fund is actuarially sound it is meeting its obligations, Converse Brown Sneakers

all of the system's benefits came due today, it would only be able to pay 69 percent of them. The system is about $12.8 billion short of being fully funded, up from a $4.5 billion deficit in 2004. The amount Converse Blue High Top government employers are spending to keep the plan solvent has grown by 60 percent in the past decade. Last year, Nevada taxpayers spent $1.3 billion on employer contributions to the plan, up from $808 million in 2004. The ratio of active employees to retirees continues to drop, an expected development but one that is problematic now since the plan isn't fully funded. The plan relies on contributions of active employees as well as the investment returns on those contributions to help fund the benefits being paid to current retirees. Fewer active employees are now funding benefits for more retirees. Nevada PERS is described as an employee employer contribution plan. That means both sides should be contributing equally to the retirement plan, much like a private employer matches an employee contribution to a 401(k) plan or the way employees and employers make equal payments to the Social Security system.But while state employees Converse Boots Indonesia

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