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PERS Funding Status Facts (3/30/09)
  • Member retirement benefits are protected by the Oregon constitution and backed by state and local government employers.
  • The current Fund assets, combined with future investment earnings and additional member and employer contributions, will be used to pay member retirement benefits.
  • The PERS Fund was valued at $42 billion at the end of February 2009. For comparison, the Fund's value had dropped to about $31 billion during the 2000-2002 downturn. 
  • From 1970 through 2008, the PERS Fund averaged annual returns of 10.25 percent and recovered from several major market downturns. 
  • PERS unfunded liabilities are amortized over 20 years, allowing time for markets to recover and for long-term investment returns to offset periodic losses. 
  • The current funding shortfall is due to lower investment returns, not a large increase in system liabilities as was the case prior to the 2003 PERS Reform, which capped and stabilized liabilities.
  • PERS employers will pay approximately 12 percent of payroll to fund PERS in the 2009-11 biennium compared to about 15 percent for 2007-09. The lower rate, a result of robust investment returns from 2003 to 2007, means PERS costs will have less impact on state, local government, and school budgets during the current economic downturn.
  • Base employer rates for the 2011-13 biennium will increase no more than 6 percent of payroll above the 2009-11 rates.
  • According to Forbes magazine's February 6, 2009 issue, PERS remains one of the best funded public retirement systems in the nation.