Report finds losses in Mich., local pension funds

LANSING, MI – State and local retirement pension funds in Michigan lost a fourth to a fifth of their value in the past fiscal year.

A report released Monday by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council said steep losses in the stock market, real estate market and other investments cut pension assets in the year leading to Sept. 30, 2008. That could mean the loss of $21 billion to $26 billion.

Michigan has 138 pension systems run by state and local governments, the fourth-highest number in the country. They serve 742,000 people.

The report says public officials will struggle to balance constitutional obligations to fund public employees' retirement systems with the need to maintain public services, especially as tax revenues fall in the weak economy.