@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Trump tax cuts net $18 a month for NC state pensioners

Posted February 6, 2018 4:30 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2018 9:23 p.m. EST

— The state Retirement Systems Division has baked the new federal tax cuts into the 312,000 pension checks it sends out, and the total savings add up to about $5.7 million a month, State Treasurer Dale Folwell said Tuesday.

Obviously, pensions, and thus tax bills, vary person to person, and Folwell said he didn't have a more detailed breakdown. But this averages out to $18.27 per person per month, or $219 a year. The boost should have been evident starting with checks that went out Jan. 25, Folwell's office said.

Current state employees should see changes in their checks starting with Friday's payroll, according to the Office of the State Controller. Just how much extra money they can expect will, of course, vary. But controller's office spokesman Michael Euliss said number crunchers there ran four examples Tuesday, all based on the average state salary, and "in every case that we ran, it was more money in their pockets."

Workers in the private sector should see changes soon as well. Employers have until Feb. 15 to update withholding tables to calculate how much federal income tax should be taken out of people's checks, Folwell's office said.

Folwell said he was proud of his team for beating the deadline and lowering withholding for state pensioners in January, calling it "a testament to the outstanding job that our career public servants do."

These tax cuts, part of a number of reforms including a major cut in the country's corporate income tax, passed Congress and were signed into law by President Donald Trump in December.

Folwell also said Tuesday that the state pension plan delivered a 13.5 percent return in 2017, beating its 12.8 percent target, while cutting fees paid to outside investment managers by $60 million.

"We are very pleased to see these gains at a time when the pension fund as a whole had less exposure to risk," Folwell said in a statement.

Pension fund assets were valued at $98.3 billion on Dec. 31, up from $89.1 billion at the end of 2016.