Rhode Island has the fourth worst gap between pension liabilities and available funding, according to a new study. In total, there is a disparity of $5 billion, the worst of any state in New England. Here is more from the Providence Business News:
Rhode Island has promised its public employees pension, health and other retirement benefits of $12 billion but has only set aside $6.8 billion to pay for them, according to a study released Thursday.
Rhode Island’s pension plans alone had the fourth-largest funding gap in the nation as of June 2008, according to the report by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States. The state had set aside $6.8 billion to cover $11.2 billion in liabilities for state-administered pension plans, or 61 percent of the total, down from 83 percent in 1999. …
On top of that, Rhode Island has promised current and future retirees an additional $788.2 million in health care, life insurance and other benefits, but no money has been set aside to cover those programs, Pew found.
Nationwide, the picture is quite bleak. In all, there is a gap of $1 trillion between what the 50 states have promised to pay and what they actually have. Only four states—Florida, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin—have full funding for their pensions. Meanwhile, the worst gap was in Illinois, which has barely more than half the money it needs to cover its liabilities. The second and third worst states were Kansas and Oklahoma. One minor detail: all these figures are as of 2008, so one can only imagine how much worse things are, two years into the recession.