Total Cost of Underfunded State Pension Plans: $5.9 Trillion


According to a newly released study, every man, woman and child across the United States owes an average of $18,300 in unfunded public pension liabilities.

ARLINGTON, VA—Earlier this week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released Unaccountable and Unaffordable 2018 (in full below), illustrating the growing pension crisis facing public employees and taxpayers.

“Despite strong market gains in recent years, states continue to struggle with massive unfunded pension obligations, “says ALEC Chief Economist and Vice President, Jonathan Williams. “Absent fundamental pension reform, these unfunded liabilities threaten core government employees like teachers, firefighters and police officers. The liabilities could also lead to massive tax increases in many states. Fortunately, states like Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah have all enacted comprehensive pension reforms in recent years that will protect workers, retirees and taxpayers alike.”

“Even the best funded states like Tennessee, Indiana and Nebraska – which take the top three on this publication’s rank of unfunded liabilities per capita – have per capita liabilities of $8,466, $8,690 and $9,043, respectively. The worst three states, Alaska, Connecticut and California have unfunded liabilities per capita of $46,774, $32,805 and $29,137, respectively.”

Here is the amount owned, per citizen, in each state:

Source: American Legislative Exchange Council

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