Pension Gap of $1 Trillion is ‘Daunting’ Bill to U.S. States

By Darrell Preston and Nanette Byrnes

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) — U.S. states must contend with a more than $1 trillion gap between what they have saved and what they have promised to retired workers for pension and health-care benefits, the Pew Center on the States said in a report today.

States have saved $2.35 trillion of the $3.35 trillion owed to workers as of mid-2008, the center said. The Washington-based group expects the deficit to grow because of investment losses states sustained in the second half of 2008, the report said.

Illinois,Connecticut and New Jersey were among the 16 lowest-ranked in terms of funding pension and retiree health care, according to Pew. The gap reflects “states’ own policy choices and lack of discipline” in failing to set aside enough money and expanding benefits without deciding how to pay for it, the report said.

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