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CalPERS to seek $700 million and likely deepen the state deficit

June 11, 2010 | 12:38 pm

California's largest pension fund is preparing to seek another $700 million from the state and school districts after postponing such a decision in May due to concerns about California's budget deficit.

Marc Lifsher reports in Friday's Times that staff at the California Public Employees' Retirement System are recommending the increase and several board members, including state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who previously questioned the timing, are now in favor.

The bottom line for the budget, from Lifsher's story:

The $700-million CalPERS increase under consideration would boost employer contributions from the state and schools to about $5 billion in 2010-11.

However, the state's nonpartisan legislative analyst's office now estimates that the increase would cost the general fund only $184 million more than the current year. The rest of the $700 million would come from other state funds that don't affect the state deficit.

The "clarification" has persuaded Lockyer to support the proposed employer contribution increase, said spokesman Joe DeAnda.

"The impact on the general fund seems to be considerably less than the numbers that had been thrown out there, so he's more comfortable," DeAnda said. "And even those numbers might be overestimated" if, a year from now, the state's total payroll turns out to be smaller than expected.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento