Public pension funds from Rhode Island to California are struggling, but New York statefound out this week that retirement contributions by governments,school districts and taxpayers would decrease in the coming fiscalyear.

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the unexpecteddecrease, which will be slight, from an average of 20.9 percent ofpayroll to 20.1 percent for those in the Employment RetirementSystem and from 28.9 percent to 27.6 percent for those in thePolice and Fire Retirement System.

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“The New York State Common Retirement Fund’s strong gains overthe last four years have mitigated some of the impact of thefinancial market collapse of 2008-2009,” DiNapoli said in astatement. “Strong investment performance, along with a revision inactuarial smoothing, has lowered the employer contribution rate for2014-15.”

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New York state’s pension funds are among the best funded in thecountry. Standard & Poor’s reported that that less than 8percent of its liabilities were uncovered. That stands in sharpcontrast with problems in places like Detroit, where pension liabilities are a major part of thecity’s bankruptcy filing, and California, where unions are fighting changes to retirementsystems negotiated with the state and municipalities.

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In New York state, exact contributions will vary by employerdepending on retirement plans, salaries and the distribution ofemployees within the state’s six retirement tiers. The next fiscalyear begins April 1, 2014.

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The fund, which covers 1 million retirees and workers, reporteda return on investment of 0.29 percent in the first quarter of thisfiscal year and a value of $158.7 billion. That compared with adrop of 0.92 percent in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Thefund’s ROI for 2012-2013 was 10.4 percent.

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