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Wyoming Retirement System Assessment

February 17, 2012

CASPER, Wyo. – The Wyoming Legislature turned down a bill this week to change the state retirement system to something more like a 401k plan, although the bill did raise questions about the financial stability of the system. Wyoming Retirement System Board Director Steve Sommers says the good news is that the system is currently funded at 85-percent.

"We expect that percentage to probably drop over the next year or so; we're still taking losses from 2008. But once we get through that, I think our investment program will recover."

Even with the expected fluctuations, says Sommers, Wyoming's system is in far better shape than most states. He expects some fine-tuning will be needed to keep the fund on track.

"A few changes to the system in terms of benefits and tweaks here and there, and maybe even, if necessary, some small contribution rate increases, I think the system is going to be fine for a long time to come."

About one in 10 Wyomingites is a member of the state retirement system - folks such as state employees, teachers, firemen, police officers, game wardens and University of Wyoming professors and staff.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY