Pennsylvania’s public retirement plans are 81% funded, which is a relatively high percentage compared to many other states. The state may be falling further behind, however. In 2009, the state made only 31% of the $2.4 billion in contributions recommended by state actuaries as being needed to fund long-term pension benefits. This is the smallest percentage among all the states. In 2010, contribution caps that do not expire until 2015 were placed on the funds. This means that the state cannot contribute more than half the amount actuaries say would be necessary to keep the fund solvent for all long-term payments.
Only 65% of Maryland’s pension funds have money set aside for them, and the state’s annual funding has decreased at a growing rate for the last three years. This decade alone, contributions by the state for its general pension fund grew by 39%. Over this same time period, however, state worker benefits increased by 59%. The state’s pension liability, as of 2010, is $54.5 billion.
According to a story in the Denver Post, Sylvester Schieber, who is a consultant on pensions and a former chairman of the Social Security Board, says that Colorado’s public pension plan is among the most generous in the country. Members of Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association, for example, receive an average of 90% of the salaries of employees who are still working and paying into the plan. The state currently has a pensions liability totalling $54.5 billion. This year the state only paid 66% of its annual requirement.
Only 68% of Massachusetts’ pension liabilities are currently funded. This is, however, only the 16th lowest percentage in the country. What makes the situation worse for the state is that in 2009, the most recent year on record, the state contributed only 66% of the recommended $2 billion, the fifth-lowest percentage in the country.
The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, projects a $7.7 billion payment gap between anticipated long-term revenues and the benefits due to retirees and current public employees, according to Bloomberg. In 2009, the state only paid 68% of the pension contributions recommended by state actuaries. Governor Sam Brownback recently predicted that the state will move toward a 401(k)-style pension plan for newly hired teachers and public workers to address the pension issues.