CalPERS lowers forecast for investment returns

SACRAMENTO — The nation's largest public pension fund lowered its forecast Wednesday for investment returns and asked the state of California, school districts and local governments to increase contributions — a move that could siphon more money from basic services.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System voted to lower its projected annual return from 7.75 percent to 7.5 percent. The change will cost the state an extra $303 million a year, with about $167 million coming from the general fund.

It also bumps the overall annual state contribution to CalPERS to $3.8 billion, or about 4 percent of the overall general fund budget for the coming fiscal year.

The action by the CalPERS board marked the first time in a decade it has lowered its projected return. The fund, which serves 1.6 million California government workers, retirees and their families, has an unfunded liability of at least $85 billion.

Representatives of local agencies said they were concerned the board's action will further hurt their budgets at a time when many are facing deficits.

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