State Employees’ Retirement Fund Market Value Altimeter

October 2004

Market Value
(in billions)
8/31/2004 9.322
7/31/2004 9.316
6/30/2004 9.511
5/31/2004 9.373
4/30/2004 9.371
3/21/2004 9.496
2/29/2004 9.520
1/31/2004 9.420
12/31/2003 9.369
12/31/2002 8.537
12/31/2000 10.890
12/31/1995 6.595
12/31/1990 3.935

The market value of the State of Michigan Retirement Fund portfolio between July 31, 2004 to August 31, 2004 rose “but” 6 million reflecting a bottom line of 9.322 billion. Equities (corporate shares) showed an increase of 1.8% replacing the real estate item that was down 2% of the total.

It was recently brought to my attention (October 4, 2004) that through the approval of the Legislature 24.4 million was transferred out of the state employees retirement fund. Apparently, this maneuver was legal as the monies came out of the health portion of the system. State pensions are protected under the State Constitution.

Public Act 93 of 2002 was created as a Health Advance Funding Sub Account. As health benefits are on a pay-as-you-go program, the new Act was established as a pre funded health benefit account. We are told it will take years to prefund necessary dollars to fill the account. In fiscal year 2003, a transfer of 17.4 million was made from the pension plan to the health plan in an effort to begin pre funding expected health care costs. There had already been a transfer of funds in the amount of 87.5 million as a result in the change of the legislation. This was done between fiscal years of 2001 and 2002.

The health fund has been established for presumably a single purpose. We question whether these monies were actually borrowed from the state pension fund. Will they ever be replaced with interest?

Observations, Facts and Assumptions

My wife, Jean, and I recently received a very pretty card showing a special picture painted by Monet. The back of the card indicated it was constructed by Robert Frederick Ltd., Bath, England; printed in, guess where, China. Now, I see there is a shortage of flu serum because of a failing in a factory in, guess where, England. I have been picking tomatoes recently from my home grown plants. I feel so proud; they are not imported. I wonder, however, where the roots were germinated.

Former Governor John Engler is the new president of the National Association of Manufacturers. He said he will try to lower manufacturing health care costs, negotiate fair trade deals and direct the number of students studying science. I’m putting my bet on Mr. Engler. Here is a man who, by his own admittance, said he never was in a popularity contest during his working days for the State of Michigan. What John sets to do generally happens, even if a majority gets hurt. Cutting taxes and liquidating the rainy day fund has been real tough on his successor.

This is a time in our country that the word “liberal” is being tossed around. Don’t talk to Joe; he is a liberal — Brrr. The dictionary defines the word “liberal” as follows: “possessing or manifesting a free and generous heart, appropriating or fitting for a broad and enlightened mind; free from narrowness, bigotry or bondage to authority or creed as in religion, broad; popular, progressive.” There — now you know, stand up straight.

Did You Know

October 11 is Columbus Day; October 27 is depicted as Navy Day.

One hundred years ago — 1904

  1. The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  2. The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
  3. Only 14% of the homes in the U.S. had bathtubs.
Ponder This
  1. What is the definition of a will? It’s a dead give away.
  2. A lot of money is tainted — taint yours — taint mine .
  3. When two egotists meet; it’s an I for an I.
Editor’s note: Al Trierweiter is a former President of the Lansing SERA Chapter, former Chairman of the Michigan SERA Coordinating Council, former Legislative Representative for both the Lansing Chapter and the SERA Council. AI may be reached at 6440 Old River Trail, Lansing 48917; phone 321-0041.

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