Interesting Pension Fund Data

The following was included in the most recent issue of Capitol Ideas, the magazine published by the Council of State Governments:

“A new report from the Pew Center on the States finds a $1 trillion gap between the $2.35 trillion states have set aside to pay for employees’ retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises. The report, The Trillion Dollar Gap: Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Road to Reform, found in eight states more than one-third of the pension liability was unfunded as of the 2008 fiscal year, while two states—Illinois and Kansas—had less than 60 percent of the necessary assets on hand. The Government Accountability Office says 80 percent is the preferred benchmark funding level.”

As you can see on the map, Washington is doing relatively well compared to other states. This data is from 2007 when our pesnion fund was at the height of the market. We are not currently at 100% funded given the declines in the market value of our portfolio. Nevertheless, I would be surprised if our fund has declined significantly relative to other states.

About the Author

Ross
I am the Director of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State. I formerly represented the 48th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives, chairing the Appropriations committee and spent many a year at Microsoft.