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Colorado public-pension finances improve following reforms

Author: Associated Press - June 22, 2018 - Updated: June 22, 2018

Balu Bhayani, 71, worked as an engineer for the Colorado Springs water department for 25 years before retiring. He left a higher paying job up in Denver for the stability of the PERA benefits package. (The Gazette file photo)

Colorado’s public pension is on much stronger financial footing after state lawmakers approved a rescue package in May.

The board that oversees the Colorado Public Employee’s Retirement Association (PERA) on Friday released its annual financial report, which shows dramatic improvement from this time last year.

The pension is now projected to fully fund the benefits owed to retirees within 30 years, down from 78 years.

The unfunded debt fell to $28.8 billion, from $32.2 billion at the end of 2016. The debt would have fallen further, but there was a surge in retirements last year.

Thanks to a strong stock market, the pension made 18.11 percent on its investments in 2017, more than doubling its 7.25 percent target.

The legislature in May cut retirement benefits and increased contributions from taxpayers and employees to shore up the fund.

Associated Press

Associated Press