September 24, 2010

Managing the Crisis in Public Pensions

Eileen Norcross

Senior Research Fellow

Scott Pattison

Executive Director and CEO, National Governors Association

Dan Lijenquist

Former Senator

States have promised public workers a secure retirement, but recent events and new studies have shined light on an acute crisis. Public pensions are radically underfunded and fundamental reform is no longer an option but a necessity. State policy makers can no longer avoid addressing this shortfall with many public employees approaching retirement. The future fiscal stability of states is inextricably intertwined with the retirement security of public employees. This panel addresses what steps policy makers must consider, and what pitfalls to avoid on the road to reform.

In this panel discussion we will address the following questions:

  • What is the current state of public pensions around the country? Who is doing well, and which states are in the most critical need of reform to their public pension systems?
  • Where have reforms already been made in public sector public pension plans, both domestically and globally?  What reforms have been successful?
  • What are the first steps states that facing severely underfunded public sector pension programs should take?


Eileen Norcross, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Andrew Biggs, PhD, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Senator Dan Liljenquist, Utah State Senate

Scott Pattison, Executive Director, National Association of State Budget Officers