Liabilities Grow (Much) Faster Than Assets for Connecticut Pension System

Liabilities Grow (Much) Faster Than Assets for Connecticut Pension System
<a href="">tpsdave</a> / Pixabay

According to the state’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, Connecticut’s Unfunded Liabilities has risen faster than assets for the state of Connecticut. The report explains that between June 2010 and June2016, the state’s liabilities increased a total of 53% to $32.3 billion, from $21.1 billion. And its unfunded liabilities grew an astounding 73% to 20.4 billion, from 11.8 billion. Meanwhile, during those same six years assets increased only 28% to $11.9 billion in 2016 from $9.3 billion in 2010.

This is at the heels of another revelation in May by the Hoover Institution’s publication “Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits: 2017 Edition” which states that state treasuries have underestimating the true cost of their pension debt by billions of dollars.

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The report explains that many pensions expected a rate of return of 7.6% in 2015. Based on these projections, city and state government expected their money to double every 9.5 years.

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Connecticut's Unfunded Liabilities - Key quotes from the report

“That means that a typical government would view a promise to make a worker a $100,000 payment in 2026 as ‘fully funded’ even if it had set aside less than $50,000 in assets in 2016,” said the report

“This practice obscures the true extent of public sector liabilities…In order to target high returns, systems have taken increased investment positions in the stock market and other risky asset classes such as private equity, hedge funds, and real estate.

“The targeted returns may or may not be achieved, but public-sector accounting and budgeting proceed under the assumption that they will be achieved with certainty… Furthermore, while systems face somewhat stricter disclosure requirements under the new GASB standards, these standards will not directly affect funding decisions.”

The latest data for Connecticut's unfunded liabilities paints a devastating picture of the public pension system. The implications are staggering considering how many states are not in the fiscal position to pay for their pensions, especially as wealthy hedge fund manager and types like that start to leave the state due to high tax rates.

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