How Bad Is the Pension Problem?

Despite negative media attention, most public pensions are stable.

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While most experts agree that the majority of state pension programs aren't on the brink of collapse, many still face a host of near- and long-term economic and political challenges as state and local governments dig out of deep budget deficits and low tax receipts. The liabilities of pension plans have grown in recent years, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, and that pressure coupled with widespread budget state and local budget deficit issues has caused some policy makers to question to sustainability of public pension plans.

"The challenge is that over time, if that [pension] bill is unchecked, it grows," Huh says. "States really have to make an assessment whether or not they can afford this."

Twitter: @mmhandley