From the Morning Memo:

Pension contribution rates for local governments will remain the same as the previous year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office on Thursday announced, as the assumed long-term rate of rate of return is being decreased.

The estimated average employer contribution rate to the Employees’ Retirement System will remain at 14.6 percent of payroll.

The average rate to the police and fire retirement system, meanwhile, will increase slightly by 0.9 percent of payroll, a growth from 23.5 percent to 24.4 percent.

As the investment environment has become more of a challenge, the assumed rate of return is being lowered from 7 percent to 6.8 percent.

“Each year, for the past seven years, we’ve been able to lower pension contribution rates or essentially keep them flat,” DiNapoli said.

“Through solid investment returns, prudent management and a diverse portfolio we have kept the state pension fund strong and one of the best funded in the nation. The long-term outlook for investors is changing and requires a more conservative approach. As in years past, we’re taking the responsible action of lowering our assumed rate of return now so we can better weather market volatility.”

This is only the third term DiNapoli, in office since 2007, has lowered the assumed rate of return. He dropped it in 2010 from 8 percent to 7.5 percent, and again in 2015 to 7 percent.