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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Slow Down Fast
As I've noted before, PERS has been salting away reserves since 2003 and was about 112% funded at the end of last year. Of course, the current downturn (uptick?) on the stock market, the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, the scandals involving credit swap derivatives, etc, will almost assuredly have a negative effect on the PERS Fund. This has led to some testy debate between the two candidates running for the State Treasurer's office. I haven't decided who to support, although the more I hear from each candidate, the less impressed I am with them. They both know that the PERS Fund is the largest chunk of cash the state manages. And the State Treasurer is responsible for managing those funds. You get your choice between Ben Westlund, a Republican in 2003, an independent in 2005, and a Democrat now, and Allen Alley, a Republican to the core, who worked as an economic adviser to Ted Kulongoski during his first term. Kulongoski has endorsed Westlund. This *should* be a difficult choice for PERS members/retirees. I encourage you all to study their positions carefully and take the opportunity to ask them questions if you meet them. It may help you decide.