In the propaganda war over pensions in New Jersey manufacturing statistics is a sport:
New Jersey’s public employee pensions are not “exorbitant,” as Gov. Chris Christie has proclaimed, at least not compared with other plans across the country, asserts a new report by a progressive policy organization.
The report released earlier this month by New Jersey Policy Perspective does not compare average payments to retirees. It instead compares three other indicators — cost-of-living increases, the “multiplier” that calculates pensions per year of service, and employee contributions.
According to NJPP’s methodology, which drew on data from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, New Jersey’s pension plans rank 95th out of the 100 largest pension plans in the nation. In other words, based on those criteria, 94 of those 100 pension plans are more generous than New Jersey’s.
Totally bogus and debunked here at the time but it does raise the question of which state does have the most generous benefits and comparing average payments to retirees IS an excellent measure. Since we now have the data on 154 state plans and some facility with Excel it can be done and the average for state plans* comes to $26,022. The state topping the list at $42,877:
* With a guess as to Wisconsin which has separate valuation reports for retirees and non-retirees. The nearest I can figure is that the non-retiree valuation lists $4,817,721,000 in payouts while the retiree report lists 191,795 Core Annuitants and 40,152 Variable Annuitants though based on large differences in Annual Amounts it looks like Variable Annuitants are a subset of Core Annuitants.
Assuming there are really 191,795 retirees the average payout comes to $25,119.