CO PERA Has Billions In Unfunded Liability

Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton announced last week that Colorado’s Public Employee Retirement Association or PERA currently has $30 billion in unfunded liability. The Unfunded liability is the money the system owes but currently doe’s not have in its accounts. To help protect employees and tax payers from shouldering the burden of the liability, a bill has been introduced that would cap the amount of contributions they can make towards PERA. The employee and tax payer contribution levels into PERA have increased steadily over the past decade, putting stress on the education system in Colorado. According to some figures, Douglas County Schools paid $54.5 million into PERA in 2016 which accounted for over 20% of their yearly payroll, a 100% increase from the 10% they paid in 2007. If passed, Stapleton says the bill would stop PERA contribution increases from continuing to siphon off money that should be kept in Colorado class rooms. To help address the $30 billion in unfunded liability Stapleton introduced another bill that would change the makeup of the PERA board. The bill would ensure the board has a greater range of experience in investment management, economics, accounting, and pension administration while reducing the appearance of conflicts of interest. If passed, the bill would allow the Governor to appoint 4 additional members to the board with the caveat that they have extensive financial experience.

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