Public Plans Data: 15-Year Trend

When reviewing the numbers collected by the Public Plans Data people from state and local government CAFRs and actuarial valuations you have to consider the purpose of those calculations (to develop low-ball contributions). With that in mind a clear trend is visible over those 15 years.

From the earliest year (2001 in most cases) of data to the latest (2016 for most) the plans went from $40 billion in excess assets to a deficit of $1.33 trillion with the combined funded ratio going from 101.84% to 72.04%.

These plans improved their funding:

  • DC Police & Fire: 91.61% to 110.8%
  • Louisiana State Parochial Employees: 92.29% to 97.21%
  • Oklahoma PERS: 82.6% to 93.2%
  • Oklahoma Police: 91.4% to 98.7%
  • South Dakota RS: 96.4% to 100%
  • TN Political Subdivisions: 90.36% to 98.79%
  • West Virginia Teachers: 21% to 65.41%

While everywhere else the funding situation worsened, led by…..

Washington  School Employees, Washington Teachers, and Kentucky ERS with drops in their funded ratios of over 100% and, in dollar terms, CALPERS with an increase in unfunded liabilities of $129 billion.

A Spreadsheet (with numbers in thousands) is here with an alphabetical list by plan comparing the earliest to latest year below:

27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on July 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    New Jersey in 15 years from 2001 to 2016 Deficit (at least) more if political ignored.
    $36B +11+26+4 = an easy $77,000,000,000 if you don’t let the trailing zeroes bother you


  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 10, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Off topic, but you can’t make this stuff up …………

    Until now the worst Union-greed case I had heard of was a CA City’s Firefighters suing to be able to continue to “spike” their pensions. Their reasoning ….. everyone that came before them got away with it, so they should as well.

    Well, that’s been topped …………


    A battle is brewing at Western Michigan University this summer between a group of hungry goats and a labor union.

    The 400-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance contending that the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.

    “AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan,” said Union President Dennis Moore. “We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it’s needed, we file a grievance.”


    • Posted by bpaterson on July 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      our state beat them out. back around 2006 some public employee (she may also have been an assemblywoman) was caught doing something, whenshe went to court, she pled innocent and said, “everyone else is doing it”. The media called it “the new jersey defense”


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Their case is rather sheepish and the outcome bahhhd for taxpayers! May I suggest monetizing goat’s milk and cheese to fund their pensions.


  3. Posted by S Moderation Fact Checker on July 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Off topic? yes…

    Irrelevant? also yes.

    If your go-to attitude is union bashing, this is right up your sordid alley. There is no “battle” between goats and labor unions.

    The union filed a grievance because the University contracted out work normally performed by University employees, apparently in violation of the contract.

    The University did not hire goats. They contracted with Garrett Fickle and his wife, Gina, the owners of Munchers on Hooves. Whether the Fickles use goats, human gardeners, or drones, the University is required to follow the existing labor contract. This is exactly what unions are for. Even FDR would approve.

    This is just your run of the mill union bashing, and you fell for it.


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 12:00 am


      Off topic? yes…

      Irrelevant? Hardly.

      The “point” was to show how abused the Taxpayers are for being called upon to not only pay more than necessary (via excessive, unnecessary, unfair, and clearly unaffordable, Public Sector pensions and benefits), but ALSO to provide jobs ………WHEN THOSE JOBS ARE NOT NEEDED, or their is a cheaper and better alternative (in THIS case, GOATS).

      This isn’t “Union bashing”, it’s calling for and end to the Union’s financial MUGGING of the Taxpayers.

      It’s one thing for Cities to have to negotiate with the Unions on “safety issues” (for example the “right” number of firefighter manning a Hook & Ladder truck), but it’s patently outrageous for Taxpayers to have to provide jobs where UNNECESSARY, or where there are better alternatives.


  4. Posted by S Moderation Fact Checker on July 11, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Did you notice “and end” should be “an end”, and ” i noticed it ….” should be “I noticed it”?

    All that is irrelevant, also. It’s just a bonus. Normally, most rational people would let it pass, but when it comes from a self proclaimed expert, it begs noting.

    The University did not hire goats. They contracted with Garrett Fickle to perform a job normally done by union workers. Had Garrett’s “cheaper and better alternative” been to hire itinerant workers from Home Depot parking lot, it would be a more clear violation. It ain’t about the goats. If they hired Garrett with a state of the art weedeater, it is a violation of the contract.

    When it really gets interesting, and we can’t tell with the info available, is when Garrett is brother in law to the landscape supervisor, and the job could have been done cheaper by University workers.

    “Goats” just attempts to trivialize a normal contract dispute. And, again, you fell for it.


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 1:17 am

      SMD, It’s a “blog”, not a PHD thesis.

      If the “itinerant workers” were legal US residents, vetted, insured, and qualified for the task, and were willing to work for less ………… yes, States and Cities SHOULD be able to hire them.

      This “must be a Union member” and “prevailing wage” crap, is just that …………. CRAP.!


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 4:41 am

      Pasting a comment found on Mishtalk(dot)com on this subject ……

      “Goats are really effective at destroying noxious plants because they will pull the plants up and eat the roots as well…..Goats should be put in charge of eliminating public unions!…”


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 4:48 am

      Quoting SMD ………………

      ““Goats” just attempts to trivialize a normal contract dispute.”

      Clearly you live in an altered reality.

      35 year as Public Sector worker ….. no surprise.


      • Posted by S Moderation Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 8:11 am

        37 year as a public worker.

        41 year if you count the U.S. Navy.

        The union is not battling goats. The goats will never show up in a courtroom.

        The union filed a grievance charging the University violated their contract. They may or may not prevail, depending on the specific terms of the contract. Pretty sure there is no “if it so please Tough Love” clause.


  5. Posted by George on July 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I think whenever public pension estimates are presented there should be a disclosure about them not necessarily being in the least bit accurate.


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      The real problem is that Gov’t entities (whether a State, a big City, a County, or a small town) need to “live within their means.

      Decades of history shows us that Elected Officials ONLY care about being re-elected and will use any means at their disposal to do so…… including making pay, pension, and benefit “promises” to their workers that they know are excessive, unnecessary, unfair to Taxpayers, and clearly unaffordable.

      This can be stopped (or at least highly limited*) if deferred compensation was outlawed as a form of compensation. Pay the going “Total Compensation” rate for the services provided IN THE YEAR PROVIDED and no more ….. and of course, hire only up to the level that you can afford TODAY.

      For retirement security, DC Plans are consistent with such an approach. You can’t pay more than you have on hand, and their high-level transparency (i.e., no need for the easily manipulated assumptions and methodology choices necessary under DB Plans) easily shows if they are reasonable or excessive.

      * certain deferred non-compensation “expenses” are appropriate, such as bonding for schools and major infrastructure improvements, as long as the citizenry get to vote on such Bond offerings.


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Why is it when you DBP haters spew your venom you almost always (unless called to task) exclude you and yours self interested Fed pensions especially Military. Yeah that’s right stop the printing presses!


        • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 8:46 pm

          Not DBP haters, but strong advocates AGAINST grossly excessive, uinnecessary, unfair to taxpayers, and clearly unafforadble Public Sector pension (AND benefit) “promises”.

          I really couldn’t care if you have a DB Plan as long as (using CONSERVATIVE valuation assumptions & methodology) the expected Taxpayer contributions towards your Plan is no greater than the retirement security contributions that Private Sector workers get from their employers.

          Bottom line ……… you’re NOT “special” and deserving of a better deal (a MUCH MUCH better deal right now) ….. on the Taxpayers’ dime.


          • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm

            (Note to SMD…..don’t miss this newl opportunity to correct my spelling errors).

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm

            Please you’re the one who’s quick to anal ize others’ postings!

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 10:05 pm

            Wrong question. The correct question is …

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2017 at 9:33 am

            Objection ur anus, calls for common sense on the part of NJSC, overruled – don’t ask the question if you don’t like the answer!

  6. Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    It’s like Rodney use to say no respect no deflect……


  7. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Czazy LA Calif just provided a select group one heck of a potential pension increase………..

    Quoting from the LATimes:

    “Members of an obscure city commission agreed, and on Monday they voted to give L.A. Board of Education members a 174% raise that will take effect in 60 days. Board members who have no other outside employment will see their pay increase to $125,000 a year from $45,637. ”

    I don’t know if any of the LA Board have long CA Public Service in past years, but they do, with just 3 more years under that pay raise, their pension will go bigtime.

    If 30 years service with a 2.5 times multiplier (disclosure …I don’t know what the actual multiplier is) and assuming they are 60 years old, that raise ALONE (for a COLA-increased pension) has a lump sum INCREMENTAL value of about ………….. 30 x 0.025 x (125,000-$45,637) x 15 = $892,834,

    WHY ?


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Always the exceptions…..when the rule drools


      • Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

        Would the members of this “obscure city commission” that approved this raise give away $892K (per worker in INCREMENTAL pension benefits) of THEIR OWN money?

        If not, what justifies GIVING AWAY $892K per worker OF THE taxpayers’ MONEY?


  8. Posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2017 at 2:42 am

    ” (disclosure …I don’t know what the actual multiplier is) ”

    Disclosure …I don’t know if board members even get a pension.

    Sometimes, you just have to make these assumptions.

    Those Czazy Californians.

    WHY ?


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