The Trillion Dollar Gap: Missouri

Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Roads to Reform

Missouri needs to improve how it manages its long-term liabilities for both pensions and retiree health care and other benefits. Missouri's pension systems were 83 percent funded in 2008—above the 80 percent benchmark that the U.S. Government Accountability Office says is preferred by experts—but, like many other states, it slipped from being fully funded in 2000. Although Missouri consistently has met its annual actuarially required contribution for its state employees' plan, its payment for the public school retirement system has repeatedly been underfunded. In 2007, the state enacted legislation that prohibits benefit increases for locally run plans whose funding level is below 80 percent. The same year, legislation was put in place to restrict annual salary increases that inflate benefits for members of the Teacher and School Employees' Retirement System. Meanwhile, Missouri is one of 29 states that have put aside some money to cover its bill coming due for retiree health care and other benefits. However, less than 1 percent of the total $2.9 billion liability has been funded.

The Trillion Dollar Gap Missouri Pension Funding