States Pension Debt Exceeds $1 Trillion

Exclusive State Pension Liability Report Enclosed

                State Unfunded Pension Liabilities Exceed $1 Trillion

Analysis marks pension liabilities as root of state budget crisis

WASHINGTON, DC- The nation’s top state budget watchdog, State Budget Solutions, released a report on this week demonstrating the dramatic extent of unfunded liabilities facing the state government public employee pension funds- ranging from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion dollars depending on the study used in the analysis. "This report shows that states have been fooling the public and the federal government for years," said Bryan Leonard, author of the study. "The breadth and depth of the public pension crisis is finally coming to light and the numbers clearly speak for themselves."

The analysis provides comprehensive data from three studies to demonstrate a consensus about the scale of the unfunded pension crisis spreading across the nation, just as public employees rally against proposed reforms in wages and benefits in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. “It’s clear that this study reveals that the increasing costs of supporting the unfunded liability that is needed to pay government employee pensions is the real driver of the budget crises in the states,” said Bob Williams, President of State Budget Solutions. “Our report demonstrates that legislators and governors need to come to grips with the pension funding crisis or it will put their states in fiscal peril for decades.”

According to the study, states with the largest pension liabilities are California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Ohio. State governments use a special accounting method, known as GASB, which differs from that of the private sector. “Under GASB, government pension funds have not accurately portrayed the real value the pension funds. If states were required to use private sector accounting rules, like those used in the Novy-Marx & Rauh studies, the liabilities are much more dramatic,” said Williams.

A full state-by-state analysis of the public employee pension unfunded liability can be found at statebudgetsolutions.org.




State

PEW[1]

AEI[2]

Novy-Marx and Rauh[3] (2009)

AL

$9,228,918,000

$43,544,880,000

$40,400,000,000

AK

$3,522,661,000

$14,192,229,000

$9,300,000,000

AZ

$7,871,120,000

$45,004,090,000

$48,700,000,000

AR

$2,752,546,000

$20,026,314,000

$15,800,000,000

CA

$59,492,498,000

$398,490,573,000

$370,100,000,000

CO

$16,813,048,000

$71,387,842,000

$57,400,000,000

CT

$15,858,500,000

$48,515,241,000

$4,900,000,000

DE

$129,359,000

$5,688,663,000

$5,100,000,000

FL

($1,798,789,000)

$98,505,110,000

$8,980,000,000

GA

$6,384,903,000

$58,742,784,000

$57,000,000,000

HI

$5,168,108,000

$18,533,398,000

$16,100,000,000

ID

$772,200,000

$10,022,613,000

$7,900,000,000

IL

$54,383,939,000

$192,458,660,000

$167,300,000,000

IN

$9,825,830,000

$33,756,655,000

$30,200,000,000

IA

$2,694,794,000

$21,266,226,000

$17,000,000,000

KS

$8,279,168,000

$21,827,991,000

$20,100,000,000

KY

$12,328,429,000

$47,016,382,000

$42,300,000,000

LA

$11,658,734,000

$43,797,899,000

$36,400,000,000

ME

$2,782,173,000

$13,227,289,000

$11,800,000,000

MD

$10,926,099,000

$48,199,258,000

$43,500,000,000

MA

$21,759,452,000

$60,476,274,000

$54,200,000,000

MI

$11,514,600,000

$72,187,197,000

$63,600,000,000

MN

$10,771,507,000

$59,354,330,000

$55,100,000,000

MS

$7,971,277,000

$32,225,716,000

$28,700,000,000

MO

$9,025,293,000

$56,760,147,000

$42,100,000,000

MT

$1,549,503,000

$8,633,301,000

$7,100,000,000

NE

$754,748,000

$7,438,589,000

$6,100,000,000

NV

$7,281,752,000

$33,529,346,000

$17,500,000,000

NH

$2,522,175,000

$10,233,796,000

$8,200,000,000

NJ

$34,434,055,000

$144,869,687,000

$124,000,000,000

NM

$4,519,887,000

$27,875,180,000

$23,900,000,000

NY

($10,428,000,000)

$182,350,104,000

$132,900,000,000

NC

$504,760,000

$48,898,412,000

$37,800,000,000

ND

$546,500,000

$4,099,053,000

$3,600,000,000

OH

$19,502,065,000

$187,793,480,000

$166,700,000,000

OK

$13,172,407,000

$33,647,372,000

$30,100,000,000

OR

$10,739,000,000

$42,203,565,000

$37,800,000,000

PA

$13,724,480,000

$114,144,897,000

$100,200,000,000

RI

$4,353,892,000

$15,005,840,000

$13,900,000,000

SC

$12,052,684,000

$36,268,910,000

$43,200,000,000

SD

$182,870,000

$5,982,103,000

$4,700,000,000

TN

$1,602,802,000

$30,546,099,000

$23,200,000,000

TX

$13,781,228,000

$180,720,642,000

$142,300,000,000

UT

$3,611,399,000

$18,626,024,000

$16,500,000,000

VT

$461,551,000

$3,602,752,000

$3,300,000,000

VA

$10,723,000,000

$53,783,973,000

$48,300,000,000

WA

($179,100,000)

$51,807,902,000

$42,900,000,000

WV

$4,968,709,000

$14,378,914,000

$11,100,000,000

WI

$252,600,000

$62,691,675,000

$56,200,000,000

WY

$1,444,353,000

$6,628,204,000

$5,400,000,000

Total

$1,000,000,000,000

$2,860,967,583,000

$2,485,800,000,000

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The State Budget Solutions Project is non-partisan, positive, pro-reform, proactive and anchored in fundamental-systemic solutions. The goal is to successfully engage political journalists/bloggers, state officials and opinion leaders in a new way of thinking about state government and budgets, fundamental reforms, transparency and accountability.