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Matt Smith, the Washington State Actuary issued the 2013 actuarial evaluation for the state retirement systems. LEOFF 1 is still one of the healthiest retirement systems in the country. The actuary reported that the LEOFF 1 retirement system is 125% funded and has a surplus of 1.107 billion dollars. Remember when in 1977 they told us that the fund had an unfunded liability and had to be closed? Now is appears the LEOFF 1system could have continued without the problems that were alleged. Unfortunately only a few LEOFF 2 members who are working today fully realize how hard we fought this only to be defeated by the legislature, city, county and media opponents.
The Office of the State Actuary has just issued the 2013 Actuarial Evaluation.  It is a complex study and we will be reviewing it to provide members with an understandable summary.  The bottom line is that LEOFF 1 remains one of the healthiest pension systems in the country with a funding ratio of 125.1% and a surplus of $1.107 billion. 
You may have heard or read in the paper that the Washington State Supreme Court issued opinions in two cases related to the state’s pension system on August 14, 2014. One case involves gain sharing provisions and early retirement benefits for the members of certain state retirement plans. The second case involves annual increases for retirees in two closed pension plans, often referred to as the Uniform COLA, cost of living adjustment.
On July 3, 2014 the Illinois State Supreme Court filed an opinion on a case titled Kanerva v. Weems, 2014 IL 115811. The facts of the case follow:

On July 1, 2012, State of Illinois’s Public Act 97695 took effect. It eliminated the statutory standards for the State of Illinois’ contributions to health insurance premiums for members of three of its retirement systems and established, instead, a new system under which the Director of the Department of Central Management Services would make an annual administrative determination as to the amounts to be charged to the State and to its retirees. This statute thus fundamentally altered the State of Illinois’s obligations to contribute toward the cost of group health insurance benefits for these retired state employees.

Court: State can nix public pension increase

SEATTLE TIMES — August 14, 2014: The Legislature had the right to eliminate state employee pension increases that were approved during the stock market boom of the 1990s, the Washington Supreme Court said unanimously Thursday in two decisions that save the state billions of dollars but leave many public employees feeling cheated.

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The Washington State Supreme Court today, August 14, 2014,  issued opinions in two cases related to the state’s pension systems. One case involves gain sharing provisions and early retirement benefits for members of certain state retirement plans; the other involves an annual increase for retirees in two closed pension plans (also known as the Uniform COLA or “UCOLA”).
As of December 31, 2013, state and local government retirement systems held assets of $3.88 trillion. These assets are held in trust and invested to prefund the cost of pension benefits. The investment return on these assets matters, as investment earnings account for a majority of public pension financing. A shortfall in long-term expected investment earnings must be made up by higher contributions or reduced benefits.
Just as a wheel goes around the seasons and the events repeat themselves. As you know, we are in the primary election period. We have received requests for donations from many candidates and elected officials facing reelection. We don’t get too involved in the primary election because most incumbents will survive the primary and be in the general election. In some districts there are three and four candidates and no way to know who is the strongest. There are some exceptions however. When someone has held a position and is running for a higher office, when someone has worked in local government and is now running for a legislative position, or when a candidate has been on the staff of an elected official and is running for office. We have to consider both parties. We have had good friends and so called enemies in both parties. We must be considerate to those who are sympathetic to our needs and at the same time acknowledge those who will give us the opportunity to discuss an issue and explain our position. After such a discussion some have voted for us on some issues and against us on others. We can’t ask for their support on every issue but we can ask for and expect the opportunity to explain and hopefully persuade them to support or oppose a particular issue or legislative bill. I have been involved in this process since 1962 when I was first elected to the Executive Board of Seattle Firefighter Union Local 27. I can give you examples of how or when one of the two parties has helped us and when one of the two parties has hurt us.
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