Golden State Public Pensions 89% Funded

July 13, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A special research panel has concluded that California's public pension programs are collectively 89% funded and that the combined shortfall totals about $63 billion.

That was the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the Governor s Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission, which surveyed the Golden State’s state and local governments to gauge how well they are funded, according to a commission news release.

According to the panel’s survey of pension programs such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), California State University, the University of California Retirement System and local pension programs, the collective pension obligation was about $579.5 billion and that the programs were currently funded with about $516 billion.   

The study said the figure represented 99% of the state s current public pension obligations from all levels of government.

“Despite the $63 billion unfunded liability, the public pension systems are 89% funded, which is higher than they were in the early 1990s,  said Grant Boyken, study author and Senior Research Specialist with the California Research Bureau. Additionally, since 2004, CalPERS and CalSTRS have experienced annual returns in the double digits which are significantly higher than their assumed rates of return.”

The full report is  here .