Price Tag For Retiree Benefits: $2.73 Trillion

States have set aside about $2 trillion to cover the cost of pensions and health insurance promised teachers, police officers and other public-sector workers, but retiree benefits are still underfunded by about $731 billion, a new study released on December 18, 2007, shows.
 
Of that shortfall, nearly half ($370 billion) is needed for future retirees' health care and other non-pension benefits, such as dental and life insurance, the Pew Center on the States said in “Promises with a Price,” a 50-state analysis of state retiree benefits.

Pew Center on the States is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the same organization that funds Stateline.org. Read the full report and fact sheets for each state.

States have always been required to publicly report their long-term pension liabilities, but starting in 2008, states also have to estimate the price tag of health care and other non-pension benefits. States will have to identify these costs in their fiscal 2008 financial reports under a new rule from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Only Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin were on track at the end of 2006 to fully fund retiree benefits other than pensions for the next 30 years, Pew said.
 
None of the big states – California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois — had put aside enough money for retiree health care and other non-pension benefits as of 2006. New York faces long-term liabilities of $50 billion, followed by California ($48 billion) and Connecticut and New Jersey ($22 billion each), according to the Pew study.
 
States that don't sock away enough money risk getting a lower credit rating from Wall Street, making it much more expensive to borrow money.

Read the full article Price Tag For Retiree Benefits: $2.73 Trillion on Stateline.org's Web site.

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.