LaBarge defends performance of state pension funds

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(Host) Republican state treasurer candidate John LaBarge says he’s disappointed that some statewide Democratic candidates are trying to score political points using the poor performance of the state’s three pension funds over the past 18 months. A recent report shows that the state employees’ retirement fund lost almost $180 million in the past year and a half, or roughly 15% of its overall value because of losses on Wall Street.

Despite these losses, LaBarge says the funds are well managed. He says the funds have doubled in value over the past eight years and that the state’s track record is better than the average public pension fund. Labarge thinks continued criticism of the funds is causing unnecessary anxiety among retired state employees:

(LaBarge) “But I’m saying that the political cheap shots that are being taken out there, I think, are uncalled for. And given the stock market performance, given the fact looking at the historical record of what our investors have done over the years, I don’t see as it’s so far out of the ordinary. We create great concern and panic for public employees over something like reading a headline that says $158 million dollar. I just don’t see that kind of panic.”

(Host) LaBarge will face the winner of the September 10 Democratic primary between Ed Flanagan and Jeb Spaulding.

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