State Retiree Benefits Fact Sheet – Wisconsin

  • December 18, 2007
Wisconsin stands out in how it has managed the bill coming due for its public sector pension obligations. In fact, the state's pension system has had a remarkably steady ride over the last 10 years. Wisconsin has an excellent record of making its full annual required contribution. It issued $729 million in pension bonds in 2003, and at that time became the first state to issue bonds for non-pension benefits as well, to the tune of $600 million. This makes it the only state in the country that has just about fully funded these liabilities. This is not as tall an order as in many states, because the benefits are very modest. Wisconsin's long-term retiree health care costs stem from a subsidy that allows retirees to participate in the same plan as younger and healthier active employees. It also allows unused sick leave of departing employees to be converted to health care accounts.