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For many Americans, post-retirement benefits—principally pensions and health care—for state government employees is an obscure topic. But because of how they can affect state budgets, these benefits have become an issue of critical importance.
Research by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States shows states’ retiree pensions and other benefits represent a bill coming due over the next few decades that can be conservatively estimated at $2.73 trillion. That includes about $2.35 trillion for a wide range of employee pensions, including those for teachers, and an additional $381 billion for retiree health care and other non-pension benefits for state employees only, excluding those for teachers and a handful of other groups.
States’ fiscal health depends greatly on policy makers’ ability to wisely manage their bills coming due—and the center is tracking their efforts across a range of issues.
Jun 19, 2012 - States continue to lose ground in their efforts to cover the long-term costs of their employees’ pensions and retiree health care, according to a new analysis by the Pew Center on the States, due to continued investment losses from the financial crisis of 2008 and states’ inability to set aside enough each year to adequately fund their retirement promises.
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Nov 21, 2011 - Faced with rising pension costs, Rhode Island passed changes to its public sector retirement system that go further than the reforms of any other state. In a new infographic, the Pew Center on the States explains the challenges the state faces, and looks at how the new law would affect workers as well as the state’s bottom line.
Apr 25, 2011 - The shortfall between what states owe in pension and retiree health benefits and what they have set aside grew 26 percent in fiscal year 2009, according to a new Pew report. The struggle to meet these obligations could force tough budget choices in many states.
Nov 11, 2010 - Pew Center on the States has developed an interactive map and a full brief the details how states have worked to reform their pension systems. Stay tuned for further updates in January 2011 and in spring 2011.
Feb 18, 2010 - A new report from the Pew Center on the States shows why states must take strong action now to pay for employees’ retirement benefits or taxpayers will suffer later.
Apr 30, 2008 - The Pew Center on the States examines the rising cost of public-sector retirement benefits.
Dec 18, 2007 - This groundbreaking report, Promises with a Price, provides first-of-its-kind data about the long-term costs of public sector benefits. It highlights which states are prepared to pay the significant bill coming due, which are not, and why it matters to state lawmakers and citizens alike.
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