New Jersey’s defined benefit pension systems are underfunded by more than $170 billion, an amount equivalent to 44 percent of gross state product (GSP) and 328 percent of the state’s explicit government debt. Depending on market conditions, the state will begin to run out of money to pay benefits between 2013 and 2019. The state’s five defined benefit pension plans cover over 770,000 workers, and more than a quarter million retirees depend on state pensions paying out almost $6 billion per year in benefits. Nationwide, state pensions are underfunded by as much as $3 trillion, approximately 20 percent of America’s annual output.
This path is not sustainable. In order to avert a fiscal crisis and ensure that future state employees have dependable retirement savings, New Jersey should follow the lead of the federal government and the private sector and move from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution pensions. While significant liabilities will remain, the first step to addressing the pension crisis is capping existing liabilities and providing new employees with more sustainable retirement options.
“The Crisis in Public Sector Pension Plans: A Blueprint for Reform in New Jersey,” by Eileen Norcross and Andrew Biggs, Mercatus Center, June 23, 2010
Underfunded Pensions, Pension Dumping, and Retirement Security
Underfunded Pensions, Pension Dumping, and Retirement Security:
Pension Funds, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), Bailout Risks, Impact on the Federal Budget, and the Pension Protection Act of 2006
Compiled by TheCapitol.Net
- Although the PBGC’s liabilities are not explicitly backed by the full faith and credit of the federal government, Congress could face political pressure to bail out the PBGC at taxpayer expense should the agency become financially insolvent.
2009, 319 pages
ISBN: 1587331535 ISBN 13: 978-1-58733-153-4
Softcover book: $19.95
For more information, see 1534Pensions.com
RL34443, RS22650, R40171, RL34656, GAO-09-207, RL33937
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