(The Center Square) – Kentucky lawmakers received an update this week on the state of several public pension programs during a meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Advisory Board.

The Kentucky Teacher Retirement System (TRS) reported growth of 3.44% on its investments for the quarter. While that fell below the benchmark of 3.75%, it still ranked among the top half of gainers across the country, according to Beau Barnes, the TRS deputy executive secretary and general counsel.

Barnes, according to a release from the Kentucky House Majority Caucus, told the board that private equity investments performed well. However, international investments faltered as the TRS portfolio focused on growth stocks.

Officials with the pension plan also noted that from 2008 to March of this year, the teachers’ plan has reported returns of $19.3 billion.

The average gain over that time was $14 billion.

State Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, said that’s good news for taxpayers.

“The teachers will get their contract payments regardless of the market payment,” he said. “The taxpayers are the ones that are benefiting from the outperformance that generated $5.3 billion.”

Other pension plans, the Judicial Retirement Plan and the Legislators’ Retirement Plan beat their 20% benchmarks for the fiscal year to date.

Through the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year, the judicial pension plan has a 29.5% return while the lawmakers’ plan has a 29.7% return.

Through March 31, the cash flow for the judges’ plan is $556.7 million, up from $388.2 million for the first three quarters of the 2020 fiscal year. 

“The cash flow increased, driven by a strong performance,” said Bo Cracraft, executive director of the Judicial Form Retirement System.

The Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA), which manages three pension plans, said the fiscal-year-to-date performance was 18.44%, also above its benchmark. That results in assets increasing by $2.3 billion during the first three quarters.

KPPA oversees plans for county employees, the state police and other state workers.