The Phaserl


Hidden Government Debt Bomb: State Pensions Underfunded By $4.7 Trillion

By Hazel Bradford, Contra Corner:

State employee retirement systems are underfunded by a total of $4.7 trillion for a funding ratio of 36%, said a report from State Budget Solutions, a non-profit organization advocating state budget reform.

The report, “Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014” uses data from fiscal year 2013 comprehensive annual financial reports and actuarial valuations from individual plans. In its 2013 report, the group estimated underfunding at $4.1 trillion, or a 39% funding ratio.

The report measured state public pension liabilities by market valuation instead of discount rates based on investment return assumptions because “the discount rates that plans use are just far too high,” said Joe Luppino-Esposito, State Budget Solutions general counsel and the report’s author, in an interview.

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