The Pew Center on the States has released a study on the nationwide shortfall in the states’ pension and health care plans for retirees. Gov. Chris Christie will no doubt seize on the study — “The Widening Gap: The Great Recession’s Impact on State Pension and Retiree Health Care Costs” — as further proof of a “crisis” that New Jersey must address immediately.
But if you ask me, the study provides some helpful and calming perspective. New Jersey is hardly alone in this problem. As a benchmark, the study uses a widely recommended figure of 80 percent for the amount of money a state should have saved to meet future obligations. Some 31 states are below the 80 percent figure.
Granted, New Jersey is fourth from the bottom, having on hand 56 percent of the assets that it will eventually need to meet future pension obligations. And that’s worrisome.
But the study also notes that there is little danger of an immediate crisis.
Here’s a link to the Pew report.
And here’s a link to an Associated Press article on the Pew study.