States of Innovation: Securing Public Pensions

Episode 95

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States of Innovation: Securing Public Pensions

Stat: $1.24 trillion: The 50-state pension funding gap—the shortfall between what all the states have funded and what they actually owed public employee retirees—as of 2018.

Story: Public employees count on pensions when they retire, but most states haven’t adequately funded their obligations. As of 2018, the funding gap for all the states totaled $1.24 trillion. Without sustainable funding, the cost of retiree benefits can mean less money is available for schools, roads, or public safety. In this episode, we hear from Greg Mennis, who leads Pew’s efforts to help states find innovative solutions to close the funding gap and save taxpayer dollars. We also speak with Marcie Frost, who leads the California Public Employees' Retirement System—the country’s largest public pension system—on how stress testing that pension fund helps policymakers understand potential costs and liabilities as they make decisions to help secure retirement benefits for 2 million public employees, retirees, and their families.   

Related resources:

States Are Struggling to Fund Pensions—Here’s Why

Pennsylvania’s Historic Pension Reforms

States of Innovation: What is Budget Stress Testing?

Public Pension Investments Largely Recover After Pandemic-Related Slide

The State Pension Funding Gap: 2018

States of Innovation From 'After the Fact'
States of Innovation From 'After the Fact'

States of Innovation From 'After the Fact'

Quick View

The latest season of Pew’s “After the Fact” podcast looks at the innovative solutions some states are developing to meet long-standing problems. From making small loans more affordable for consumers, to improving community flood preparedness, to designing corridors for wildlife to migrate safely across high-traffic roads—protecting animals and drivers—state leaders are working together to tackle big challenges.

After the Fact

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Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.