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June 14, 2010

The State's Pension Fund will not be raided to balance State's budget

The State's Pension Fund will not be raided to balance State's budget
Statement by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli

“There have been a number of outrageous and unfounded rumors and erroneous press reports that I will allow a raid of the pension fund to balance the state budget. “Let me be very clear: The pension fund will not be used to balance the budget.

“The Pew Center recognized New York as one of only four fully-funded state pension systems. New York’s strong position has been achieved through long-term, fiscally responsible practices.

"My first job as state comptroller is to protect the one million members, and the rest of New York State taxpayers, from the irresponsibility that has left New Jersey, Illinois, California and dozens of other public pension funds across the nation dangerously under-funded. I will fight any raids on the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

“Shame on those individuals who are playing politics, trying to mislead taxpayers and scare members and retirees who rely on the fund for their financial security. The fund is not a political football.

“The fund is strong. I recently reported that SFY 2009-10 was the third best investment year in the past 20 years. The Pew Report found that our fund is one of the best managed funds in the nation. I will not sacrifice that strength to a dysfunctional budget process.

“The State Comptroller’s office has a long history of protecting the fund from raids. I will protect the fund from any raids under any circumstances.”

Facts about the Fund:

1. Third Highest Return in Last 20 Years: The pension fund posted a 25.9 percent rate of return for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, driving the value of fund assets to approximately $132.6 billion.

2. Nationally Recognized for Excellence by Pew Center: In February, the Pew Center on the States issued a report calling New York one of the best managed pension funds in the country. Only four states in the country are fully-funded: New York, Florida, Washington and Wisconsin.

3. Safe, Strong and Secure: The pension fund is one of the best funded public pension funds in the nation and can cover its current and future obligations.

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