The Pew Center on the States: The Widening Gap: The Great Recession’s Impact on State Pension and Retiree Health Care Costs
April 15th, 2011

Analyzes 2009 and 2010 data on states’ funding of pensions and retiree health care to show how states’ retirement systems—many of them already on shaky ground—were affected by the Great Recession: •    Pension funding shortfalls accounted for $660 billion of … Continue reading

Chris Edwards, CATO Journal: Public Sector Unions and the Rising Costs of Employee Compensation
December 15th, 2010

The public sector pay advantage is most pronounced in benefits.  Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that average compensation  in the private sector was $59,909 in 2008, including $50,028 in wages  and $9,881 in benefits. Average compensation in the public … Continue reading

Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, and Laura Quinby, The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: The Impact of Public Pensions on State and Local Budgets
November 13th, 2010

“Whereas public plans are substantially underfunded, in the aggregate they currently account only for 3.8 percent of state and local spending. Assuming 30-year amortization beginning in 2014, this share would rise to only 5 percent, and even assuming a 5 percent discount rate, to only 9.1 percent… Continue reading

Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Raugh, University of Rochester and Kellogg School of Management and NBER: The Crisis in Local Government Pensions in the U.S.
October 15th, 2010

“Using local government accounting methods, the total unfunded liability in local governments is $190 billion or over $7,000 per municipal household…When government accounting is corrected by discounting already-promised benefits at zero-coupon Treasury yields, the total unfunded obligation is $383 billion or over $14,000 per local household… Continue reading

Amy B. Monahan, University of Minnesota Law School: Public Pension Plan Reform: The Legal Framework
March 15th, 2010

“States should be free to set new contract terms for services not yet rendered. Denying states the ability to renegotiate future benefits to reflect changing economic conditions is unfair to taxpayers when all other aspects of the employment relationship can be renegotiated. “ Continue reading

The Pew Center on the States: The Trillion Dollar Gap: Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Road to Reform
February 15th, 2010

“Retiree health care and other non-pension benefits create another huge bill coming due: a $587 billion total liability to pay for current and future benefits, with only $32 billion—or just over 5 percent of the total cost—funded as of fiscal year 2008. Half of the states account for 95 percent of the liabilities.” Continue reading

Dr. Barry W. Poulson and Dr. Arthur P. Hall, American Legislative Exchange Council: State Pension Funds Fall Off a Cliff
January 15th, 2010

“The solution to the funding crises in state pension plans will require fundamental reform. Everything should be on the table, including changes in benefits and increased employee contribution rates, as well as employer contribution rates. These plans should consider replacing … Continue reading

Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua D. Rauh, Journal of Economic Perspectives: The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans
October 15th, 2009

Nationally, pension funds are underfunded by $3.23 trillion…Total state debt with pension liabilities is 4.5 times the value of outstanding state bonds…Unfunded pension debt owed to each plan participant is $161,500, or $10,625 for every man, woman and child in … Continue reading

Journal of Economic Perspectives: “The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans”
September 15th, 2009

“Nationally, pension funds are underfunded by $3.23 trillion… Continue reading

Employee Benefit Research Institute: Benefit Cost Comparisons Between State and Local Governments and Private Sector Employers
June 15th, 2008

“Overall total compensation costs as of September 2007 were 51.4 percent higher among state and local government employers ($39.50 per hour worked) than among private-sector employers ($26.09 per hours worked)… Continue reading

The PEW Center on the States: Promises with a Price: Public Sector Retirement Benefits
December 15th, 2007

“At least five states now offer hybrid plans that combine elements of both defined contribution and defined benefit. According to a September 2007 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Oregon officials estimate that the new hybrid program adopted in 2003 contributed to over $400 million in pension reform savings. “ Continue reading