Public pension systems nationwide face record levels of debt, totaling $1.4 trillion.
UNITED STATES.- The loudest rallying cries from Colorado teachers protesting for more education dollars were about dwindling paychecks that are steadily losing ground to the state’s rising cost of living.
Teachers usually say a persistent funding shortage, which has cost public schools $6.6 billion since 2009, led them to walk off the job and Elsewhere, pay and other benefits, such as health care, have been at the forefront of teachers’ demands, including in Arizona, where a historic statewide strike has closed down schools for four days. But that doesn’t mean rising pension costs are not a factor behind the scenes.
Public pension systems nationwide face record levels of debt, totaling $1.4 trillion, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts study. That puts downward pressure on wages and benefit checks as governments struggle to close the funding gap. It suggests the recent outcry over teacher pay could spread in coming years, whether pension costs are widely acknowledged as a driving factor or not.
Public pension systems nationwide face record levels of debt, totaling $1.4 trillion, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts study.
“I think what you see happening in the state and local and municipal sector is it has now become very, very clear how expensive defined benefit plans are. I think we’re headed for a big crisis across the country,”said Olivia Mitchell, executive director of the Pension Research Council at the University of Pennsylvania. “Pensions are now becoming the tail that wags the government dog, if you will.”