"Rhode Island's state pension fund now consumes 10% of every state tax dollar, and this figure is currently projected to double within just the next few years....And the root problem? Until just this year, Rhode Island calculated its pension number by assuming an average annual rate of return on its investments of 8.25% -- in fact, for the last decade its actual average return on investment was only about 2.40%. And in each of the last 10 years the state's fund paid more money to retirees than the fund collected from state employees and taxpayers combined....Rhode Island is a microcosm of what's wrong with the country's $3 trillion worth of public pensions plans in the aggregate, and it's truly the 'canary in the (national pension crisis) coal mine'. The state -- just like 49 other states -- made promises it didn't sufficiently fund along the way and now can't keep. That bill has come due, so to speak, and...the state is being forced to choose among the state reneging on both past and future promises to workers, undermining its future by cutting back on investing in everything from schools to green energy to health care, or, even though in the midst of an ongoing recession, raising revenues through large tax increases."
"The two consecutive years of double-digit returns helped the System regain much of the loss sustained during the devastating 2008-09 economic crisis. "
"As of June 30, 2011, total net assets were valued at $89.9 billion, an increase of more than $13 billion from a year earlier. NYSTRS has achieved returns well above the 8.0% assumed rate of return in four of the past six years. The System's 25-year annualized rate of return stood at 9.0% — or 100 basis points above the actuarially assumed rate. "