The Trillion Dollar Gap: North Dakota
Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Roads to Reform
North Dakota needs to improve the way it manages its long-term pension liability, but it is doing a relatively good job of handling the bill coming due for its retiree health care and other benefits. While the Peace Garden State has funded 87 percent of its total pension bill—above the 80 percent benchmark that the U.S. Government Accountability Office says is preferred by experts—it failed to fully pay its actuarially required contribution between 2002 and 2008. Meanwhile, the state has relatively limited retiree health care and other benefits, but already has set aside $42.5 million, or about 34 percent, of the $124 million long-term bill coming due for those obligations.