New Jersey and Pennsylvania Among States With The Worst-Funded Pension Programs

New Jersey and Pennsylvania Among States With The Worst-Funded Pension Programs

A headline in a recent issue of Employee Benefit News, "State-Run Pension System Is A 'Ticking Time Bomb,'" was followed by an article that listed the states with the worst-funded pension programs. New Jersey was 34th on that list and Pennsylvania was 36th.

The article quoted a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts that said the US had a $968 billion shortfall in 2013 between the pension benefits that were promised to employees and what was actually saved to make those payments. That amount was up $54 billion from the prior year.

At the bottom of the list of 50 was Illinois, whose pension program was just 39% funded. Connecticut was 48th on the list at 48% and Alaska, formerly governed by vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, was 47th on the list with just 55% funding.

According to the report, New Jersey's pension program was 63% funded, while Pennsylvania's was 62% funded.

We understand that under-funding of state pension plans has been going on for a long time and the problem is not necessarily the fault of the individual currently serving as governor, but that doesn't change the fact that employees who may have worked for 20 or 30 years for the state have a right to expect that their pension plans are viable.

Beau Weisman, Editor