Project

Public Sector Retirement Systems

Public Sector Retirement Systems
Many state and local retirement plans are on an unsustainable course, having failed to set aside enough money to fund the promises they have made.  To inform state policymaking, Pew provides  research on the fiscal challenges state and cities face as a result of their pension and retiree health promises.

With the understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the project also offers technical assistance to states and municipalities as they undertake pension and retiree health care reforms to ensure their public sector retirement systems are affordable and sustainable, provide a secure retirement for workers, and preserve governments' ability to recruit and retain a talented public-sector workforce.

Issue Brief

The State Pension Funding Gap: 2016

Quick View
Issue Brief

Many state retirement systems are on an unsustainable course, coming up short on their investment targets and having failed to set aside enough money to fund the pension promises made to public employees. Even as contributions from taxpayers over the past decade doubled as a share of state revenue, the total still fell short of what is needed to improve the funding situation.

Article

Why Pew Works with States on Pension Reforms

Quick View
Article

A conversation about Pew's pension work with Project Director Greg Mennis

Connecticut
Connecticut
Article

Stress Testing in Connecticut Shows Reforms Stabilizing State Pension System

Quick View
Article

Stress Testing in Connecticut Shows Reforms Stabilizing State Pension System

Connecticut has taken critical steps in recent years to stabilize its underfunded pension systems for public employees, but state officials are rightfully concerned about whether those actions will be sufficient when the next recession hits. That’s why lawmakers passed a measure in 2017 requiring annual “stress tests” of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

Hawaii State House
Hawaii State House
Article

Hawaii’s Pension Fund Positioned to Withstand Next Recession

Quick View
Article

Like many states, Hawaii has faced challenges in recent years setting aside enough money to fulfill pension promises made to its public employees. In 2017, the state reported $15.7 billion in assets to cover $28.6 billion in liabilities, just over half the amount needed. That was a stark contrast from 2000, when the retirement system was 94 percent funded.

Data Visualization

State Retirement Fiscal Health and Funding Discipline

Quick View
Data Visualization

The funding gap between state pension system assets and benefits promised to workers reached $1.4 trillion in 2016. Underfunded public pension systems have become a significant fiscal challenge facing states and municipalities. Although some plans for public workers are well-funded, others failed to set aside enough money to fund the pension promises made to public employees and took on risks that they weren’t able to manage.