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Indiana Uses $360 Million Of Surplus For Employee Pensions

Members of state agencies receiving pension funds allocations stand in front of a poster showing how the state's $271 million surplus is being distributed.

Governor Mitch Daniels Thursday announced how $360 million would be distributed from the state’s automatic taxpayer refund program to five employee pension funds.

Indiana’s automatic taxpayer refund statute divides surplus state money evenly between pension funds and giving cash back to Hoosiers when they file income taxes. This year, the pension fund allocation was given to judges, conservation, gaming and excise officers, prosecutors and state police pension funds, as well as the teachers’ retirement fund.

Thursday’s infusion of money means the pension funds are now all considered fully-funded. The teachers’ retirement fund is still several billion dollars short of that level, but Daniels says the teachers fund is a special case.

“It’s not a pension fund,” he says. “It’s a pay-as-you-go system, so there’s not a funding number that applies to it. But we are nearing the date. It’s a very manageable amount, a few percent of each year’s state budget.”

Daniels says the exact amount deducted from each eligible Hoosier’s 2013 taxes as part of the automatic taxpayer refund is still a few weeks from being determined, though he says it will be more than $100 per person.

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