Pension increase smallest since '81

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's state pension funds will pay their smallest benefit increase in 22 years to nearly 100,00 retired public employees.

The 2003 increase of 0.745 percent, which takes effect next month, is based solely on inflation, said Howard Bicker, State Board of Investment executive director.

The state's pension funds are reeling after losing $9 billion in investments in the past three years. The 2003 increase is the smallest since a 3.2 percent increase in 1981, which followed no raises at all in 1979 and 1980.

In the mid- and late 1990s, beneficiaries ranging from retired teachers to former politicians saw increases of 9, 10 and 11 percent annually.

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