State Pension Underfunding Before The Great Recession

How many years would it take for each state to make good on its pension promises if it spent all its tax revenue on pensions, and nothing else? In 2007, every state had some catching up to do. Since then, pension assets for some funds may have recovered, but liabilities have also grown.

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State Plans analyzed Assets (in billions) Years to catch up
Ohio 5 $115.6 8.7
Colorado 1 29.3 8.3
Rhode Island 1 6.0 7.7
Illinois 4 65.7 7.2
Alabama 3 22.3 6.4
Wisconsin 1 62.2 6.3
South Dakota 1 6.0 6.0
Missouri 3 27.0 5.8
Mississippi 3 15.1 5.7
Oregon 1 46.1 5.7
New Mexico 2 16.2 5.5
South Carolina 2 21.8 5.4
Kentucky 3 21.6 5.4
Oklahoma 4 12.0 5.2
New Jersey 4 60.5 5.0
Arizona 3 25.0 4.9
Connecticut 3 20.4 4.7
Texas 4 125.3 4.7
Georgia 2 53.7 4.6
New Hampshire 1 4.4 4.5
Maine 1 8.3 4.4
Nevada 1 17.8 4.2
Minnesota 4 36.2 4.2
California 3 330.0 4.2
Montana 2 5.9 4.1
Arkansas 3 8.1 4.1
Louisiana 2 17.7 4.0
Maryland 1 27.8 4.0
Hawaii 1 8.3 3.9
Pennsylvania 2 70.9 3.9
Iowa 1 18.1 3.7
Kansas 1 10.3 3.7
Wyoming 4 4.8 3.7
Alaska 2 11.7 3.7
Idaho 1 8.1 3.6
Utah 3 18.6 3.4
Indiana 2 15.5 3.4
Florida 1 97.2 3.3
Washington 7 44.3 3.2
Virginia 1 41.3 3.2
Michigan 4 43.4 3.1
Massachusetts 2 37.8 2.9
Tennessee 1 25.8 2.8
West Virginia 2 6.6 2.7
New York 3 189.8 2.6
North Carolina 2 59.1 2.6
Nebraska 2 5.4 2.1
North Dakota 2 2.9 2.1
Delaware 1 6.2 2.0
Vermont 3 2.4 1.7

Notes:

Pension assets are taken from Pensions and Investments for September 2008 and projected forward to December 2008 using asset allocation data and realized asset class investment returns. Tax revenue data used to calculate the years of tax revenue each state would need to devote to pension funding to catch up on its pension promises is based on 2007 data from the U.S. Census Bureau Census of Governments. Pension assets and liabilities are aggregated to the state level.

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