California’s Public Sector Pension Plans in Perspective

Source: J. G. Kilgour, Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol. 43 no. 3, May/June 2011
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From the abstract:
The recession of 2001 caused funding problems for public sector pension plans in California and throughout the United States. By 2007, they had largely recovered only to be devastated by the Great Recession that began in the fourth quarter of 2008, the effects of which are still with us. Matters have been exacerbated and complicated by the adoption of Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s Statement 45, which requires that other postemployment benefits (OPEBs), mainly retiree health care obligations, be included in financial statements. Pension plans are prefunded. OPEBs are not. For this and other reasons, the two should be addressed separately. Although there are problems, California’s public sector pension plans are in better shape than one would gather from what has been reported by the media. OPEBs are a larger and more difficult problem.

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