State employee retirement: 30% or 100% taxpayer funded?
Utah state and local government employees, including school district employees, receive generous retirement benefits. Utah taxpayers cover 100% of the cost of state/local government employee retirement benefits (some employees on the older system chip in some of their own funding).
However, the Utah Public Employees' Association claims differently. In their August/September 2007 newsletter, the UPEA states
Contributions into the retirement system are only funding 30% of the cost; 70% of the cost of the retirement system is funded by investment earnings. Put another way, for every $1 of benefit paid out by [Utah Retirement System], only 30 cents is being funded by the employer (taxpayer).
Obviously, we disagree. The other 70% should also be considered taxpayer funded as well since investment earnings are derived from taxpayer contributions in the first place. This is no different than the investment earnings that individuals and households earn in their own retirement accounts. The earnings are attributed to the investor's account.