Pension Contribution Rates Won’t Change

Employer contribution rates for the state’s pension system in 2019-20 will be in line with the previous year, with the Employees’ Retirement System getting a slight decrease and the Police and Fire Retirement System’s rate unchanged.

Thomas DiNapoli, state comptroller, also reported the New York State Common Retirement Fund grew stronger and ended the last fiscal year with a funded status of 98 percent, according to actuarial calculations.

“Solid investment returns help keep contribution rates stable and that provides predictability for employers as they plan their future budgets,” DiNapoli said. “New York state’s pension fund is one of the strongest and best funded in the country and protects the retirement security of our over one million members.”

The fund’s investment rate of return was 11.35 percent with an audited value of $207.4 billion at the end of its fiscal year on March 31, 2018. Strong returns raised the fund’s funded ratio to 98 percent in 2017-18, up from 94.5 percent the previous year, as measured in compliance with Government Accounting Standards Board guidelines.

The Fund was ranked one of the nation’s best-fundedpension plans in 2018, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

The estimated average contribution rate for participating employers in the Employee Retirement System will decrease in 2019-20 from 14.9 percent of payroll to 14.6 percent of payroll. The estimated average contribution rate for participating employers in the Police and Fire Retirement System will remain at 23.5 percent of payroll.

Employer rates for the New York State and Local Retirement System are determined based on investment performance for the past five fiscal years and actuarial assumptions recommended by the Retirement System’s Actuary and approved by DiNapoli.

There are more than 3,000 participating employers in the two state retirement systems and 334 different plan combinations, including those for Chautauqua County’s municipalities. Payments based on the new rates are due by Feb. 1, 2020, but may be pre-paid by Dec. 15, 2019.