“Regrettably, the Pew Center on the States … released an update to its 2011 analysis of public pension funds that is crippled by the same problems as last year’s study – the unfortunate reliance on out-of-date data and faulty assumptions. As a result, Pew’s The Widening Gap Update (see “Funding Gap Widens for State Pensions”) comes to misguided conclusions that dramatically overstate the challenges facing public pensions,” said Hank Kim, executive director and counsel of NCPERS, in a statement.
Kim noted the Pew report relies on fiscal year 2010 data – meaning much of the data is actually from calendar 2009 when institutions were still struggling up from the low point of the recession. “So much has changed in the ensuing months that Pew’s analysis is virtually without value,” he contended.
Prior to the release of the Pew report, NCPERS released results of its 2012 Public Fund Study which showed state and local pension funds remain solidly funded (see “Public Pensions Are Solidly Funded”). According to the study, participating funds reported an average funded level of 74.9%, only slightly below the 2011 average of 76.1%.
“Pew and other institutions should shift their focus to the unprecedented and escalating retirement crisis in America’s private sector – a crisis that must become the immediate focus of public policy debate,” Kim stated.
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