State Pensions Underfunded by Trillions

September 3, 2013 ( – A new report indicates state public employee pension plans are underfunded by $4.1 trillion.

The report from State Budget Solutions, “Promises Made, Promises Broken—The Betrayal of Pensioners and Taxpayers,” identifies states where taxpayers and public employee pensioners are most threatened from unfunded pensions. This list includes Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Oregon, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. According to the report, these states face a particularly large unfunded liability at a per capita level and as a percentage of their annual gross state product.

The report is a fair-market evaluation that discounts liabilities at a risk-free rate, as opposed to the optimistic investment returns used by most plans, said Bob Williams, president of State Budget Solutions.

States with the lowest funded ratio include:

  • Illinois (24% funded);
  • Connecticut (25%);
  • Kentucky (27%);
  • Kansas (29%); and
  • Mississippi, New Hampshire and Alaska (30%).

In addition to low-funded ratios, Alaska, Ohio and Illinois also have some of the largest unfunded liabilities per person weighing in at $32,425, $24,893 and $22,294, respectively.

The full report can be found here.