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LETTER: There are reasons for PERS high contribution rates

In response to your Monday editorial on the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirment System:

In these types of discussions about PERS, the reasons for the high rates of required contributions are never discussed. In 1947 the Legislature created PERS to provide benefits to all state of Nevada public employees and its agencies, with a few exceptions. Why did they do that? Because the state of Nevada and its employees do not participate (pay into) Social Security. PERS is mandated to replace that benefit for public employees.

Additionally, people who retire with a PERS pension and who also has worked in a job that paid into Social Security are subject to two rules that reduce their Social Security benefits: the Windfall Elimination Provision (WPO) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

The WPO reduces the Social Security benefit by various amounts, depending on the number of years and amounts paid into Social Security, by up to half of the PERS pension. The GPO reduces the spousal/widow benefit by two-thirds of that benefit.

It seems to me that PERS is affected by the same forces that put in question the long-term viability of Social Security. PERS seems to be responding with the only tool open to it by raising contribution rates.

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