MADISON – On, June 22, the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) announced that required Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) contribution rates will not change next year. The ETF Board (Board) approved the consulting actuary’s recommendation to keep next year’s rates at 2007 levels.
ETF Deputy Secretary David Stella said a small rate increase had been expected for next year, but better-than-anticipated investment returns offset the upward pressure created by improved life expectancies of program participants. “This is good news for everyone – employers, employees, and taxpayers,” said Stella. “Stable contribution rates are further evidence that the WRS is achieving the intended goal of financial stability and continues to be very well funded.”
In other action, the ETF Board approved the actuary’s recommendation to reduce the contribution rates for the state’s Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program. The cost of this program has declined steadily over the past three years and will now be 1% of payroll.
- The WRS has approximately 260,302 active employees, including state government workers, teachers, University of Wisconsin faculty and staff, and most local government employees, with a total annual payroll of approximately $11.1 billion.*
- General category employees comprise approximately 91% of the total WRS employee population. The group includes state and local government employees, except employees of Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee, which have their own separate retirement systems.
- By law, the WRS receives funding from three separate sources: employee contributions, employer contributions, and investment earnings. Together, these must be sufficient to meet the present and future pension and benefit commitments of the system.
*As of December 31, 2006 actuarial valuation.