The Future of Public Pensions

How Long Can States Afford to Fund Promises Made Long Ago

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Kevin Lembo, Connecticut State Comptroller
Photo:Chion Wolf
Keith Phaneuf, State Budget Reporter, The Connecticut Mirror
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Mark Waxenberg, Executive Director, Connecticut Education Association
Photo:Chion Wolf
The Future of Public Pensions
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The Future of Public Pensions


In 2010, the Pew Center on the States reported that a majority of states didn’t have enough available cash to pay for the pensions of their public sector workers...and Connecticut--along with Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island were in the most trouble.

But, not all states fared so badly.

While Connecticut had assets to cover only 53% of its pension obligations in 2010, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin had assets to cover 95% of their pension obligations in the same year.

Some states have prioritized the funding of pensions for workers upon their retirement..but most, have not.

On the other hand, even with better funding, a lot of states wonder...can they afford to continue paying pension benefits to workers long retired...while cutting vital state education?

Today, we’ll talk about the future of public pensions...We’ll look at how generous these benefits really are....and how states have underfunded the promises made long ago.

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