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Sunday, 21st February 2010

Pew Study Finds States Face $1 Trillion Shortfall in Retiree Benefits

Pew Study Finds States Face $1 Trillion Shortfall in Retiree Benefits
Source: Pew Center on the States

There was a $1 trillion gap at the end of fiscal year 2008 between the $2.35 trillion states had set aside to pay for employees' retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises, according to a new report released by the Pew Center on the States. The shortfall, which will have to be paid over the next 30 years by state and local governments, amounts to more than $8,800 for every household in the United States.

The figures detailed in Pew's report, “The Trillion Dollar Gap,” include pension, health care and other non-pension benefits promised to both current and future retirees in states’ and participating localities’ public sector retirement systems.

Pew’s numbers likely underestimate the bill coming due because the most recent available data do not account for the second half of 2008, when states’ pension fund investments were particularly affected by the financial crisis. Additionally, most states’ accounting methods spread the investment declines over a period of time–meaning states will be dealing with their losses for several years.

+ Full Report
+ Individual state fact sheets available (PDFs)


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