August 16, 2017

The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) has reported that the net return (earnings) on investments for the 12-month fiscal year ending on June 30 was 11.2%. The total funds now contain more than $323 billion. CalPERS had recently reduced its assumed earnings rate for the future from 7.5% to 7%, so the 11.2% actual return is certainly good news.

Several months ago, CalPERS decided to reduce its investments in private and public equity (such as the stock market), which earned 13.9% to 19.7% this year, and increase its “stable” investments, such as real estate, which earned 7.4%. Nationally, public employee pensions saw a median gain of 12.4%.

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As reported earlier, ballots to elect two of the thirteen members of the CalPERS Board of Administration will be mailed on September 1 to all state employees and retirees, as well as participating local agency employees. The PECG Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed David Miller for Position A. David is a state scientist and former President of the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS). He has also been endorsed by State Treasurer John Chiang, State Controller Betty Yee (both of them are members of the Board), and every public employee labor organization which has taken a position. PECG also has unanimously endorsed Michael Bilbrey for Position B. Michael is running for re-election and has done an excellent job in serving the interests of active and retired employees.

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Volkswagen will be paying an additional $154 million in penalties to California on top of the $1.3 billion previously required. This resulted from Volkswagen’s use of illegal “defeat devices” to bypass emissions control equipment in more than half a million of its vehicles nationally. After extensive testing by California Air Resources Board Engineers and Air Pollution Specialists (represented by PECG), the company finally admitted what it had done. Legal actions resulted in substantial fines and penalties for Volkswagen in California and throughout the nation.