January 13, 2011

Getting it Right: State Pension Liabilities


Mercatus scholars host a series of interviews with with policy scholars, elected officials and other practitioners about state and local legislative and regulatory reforms.

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State governments have reported unfunded pension liabilities of $452 billion as of June 2009. Recognizing the unsustainable future of current public pension plans, many state legislatures are considering pension reform. Unfortunately, most proposed reforms are insufficient to fill the funding gap because government accounting standards continue to underestimate the true debt. To measure pension obligations accurately, state and local governments must institutionalize the correct measurement of pension liabilities. Joining us today to explain how to accurately access pension liabilities is Eileen Norcross.

Norcross is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the lead scholar on the Mercatus Center’s State and Local Policy Project.  She blogs on state and local issues at Neighborhood Effects.