Across the nation, pension funds are coming up short

Published: Sunday, Jun. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jun. 24, 2012 - 9:26 am

California's public retirement systems' pension obligations were a combined $112 billion beyond the value of their assets in 2010, according to a report released this week, with anticipated retiree health costs adding another $77 billion in unfunded liabilities.

The study issued by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Pew Center for the States says that the combined pension and health costs are both a cause for serious concerns.

California's total long-term retirement and health costs two years ago totaled $593.7 billion, but the funds paid just 75 percent of the recommended contribution into pension plans and 29 percent of what the state should have paid to fund retiree health benefits.

Nationally, states continued to lose ground in 2010 to cover the long-term costs. In fiscal 2010, states fell a combined $1.38 trillion short of having saved enough to pay their long-term retirement bills, up 9 percent from the year before.

Pew found that only Wisconsin had fully funded its pension plan in 2010 and that 34 states were below the 80 percent threshold. In California, public retirement systems' pension and health obligations were a combined $189 billion beyond the value of their assets.

$1.38 trillion: Gap between assets and what states need to cover public sector pensions and health benefits in fiscal year 2010.

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