Pensions in these 10 states have the biggest funding deficits

By RetirementFOXBusiness

John Boehner on pension reform: Congress needs to act

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and former Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., on pension reform, the mounting deficit, the increasingly partisan politics in Washington, D.C., and their lives after politics.

The disparity between America’s best- and worst-funded state pension plans has never been greater.

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It could affect the retirement plans for millions of Americans, according to experts.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently found that only eight states’ pension systems were at least 90 percent funded, while 24 were less than 70 percent funded. The group analyzed pension figures from across the country using 2017 data — the most recent available.

Since the Great Recession, nearly every state has made some changes to pension policy, according to Pew. Some have increased employee contributions, while others have changed the benefits available to new hires or reduced benefits. Still, there’s a funding gap of $1.28 trillion between the pensions’ assets and their total obligations to workers and retirees.

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The funding gap has increased over time. Between 2007 and 2017, the lowest-funded pension plans declined from 76 percent funded to 56 percent.

Five states were less than 50 percent funded, according to Pew.

“Even after nine years of economic recovery, most state pension plans are not equipped to face the next downturn,” Pew concluded in its report.

Former House Speaker John Boehner told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto in an interview this week that he's working to combat the looming pension crisis. He and former Rep. Joe Crowley are part of the Retirement Security Coalition, a group working to raise awareness of underfunded multiemployer benefit plans.

“The job Joe and I have taken on is to try to elevate the seriousness of this problem,” Boehner said. “And Congress really does in fact need to act.”

Boehner said millions of retirees’ pensions “are on the line.”

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These are the states with the biggest pension funding gaps, according to Pew's analysis:

Kentucky

33.9 percent funded

New Jersey

35.8 percent funded

Illinois

38.4 percent funded

Connecticut

45.7 percent funded

Colorado

47.1 percent funded

Rhode Island

53.7 percent funded

South Carolina

54.3 percent funded

Hawaii

54.8 percent funded

Pennsylvania

55.3 percent funded

Massachusetts

59.9 percent funded

FOX Business' Henry Fernandez contributed to this report.