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What’s at stake in Colorado’s $32 billion pension problem

By: BRIAN EASON, The Denver Post
October 10, 2017 Updated: October 10, 2017 at 10:46 am
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DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 18: A rainbow appears after a brief rain October 18, 2015 at the Colorado State Capitol Building. Rain moved into the Denver metro area around 5pm and it is going to remain cloudy for the rest of Sunday according to the National Weather Service. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post)

Seven years after state lawmakers approved sweeping austerity measures to put the state pension fund on a path to financial stability, the retirement system’s funding levels have deteriorated to the point that the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association is headed back to the state Capitol for another round of difficult reforms.

The stakes are significant.

PERA provides and manages retirement benefits to 566,000 current and former public employees — just over one in every 10 Coloradans. If nothing is done, one bad economic event could be enough to plunge the pension system into insolvency — meaning it would eventually run out of money to pay its retirees, who receive pensions in lieu of Social Security.

If the state legislature passes it into law, the reform package approved in September by the pension fund’s governing board would affect virtually everyone in the state. It seeks significant concessions from retirees, employees and taxpayers alike.

PERA officials next week will begin a three-week tour of the state to explain the board’s endorsement and solicit feedback from members and the general public alike. Times, locations and more can be found at peratour.org.

Read the full story at The Denver Post.

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