Trends in Public Retirement Systems: Stresses in the System

Severe weaknesses in the financial health of the nation’s public retirement systems rank as yet another force currently buffeting state and local government finances. Further compounding the problems faced by these public retirement funds are the following developments: the precarious financial position of private sector pensions and the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; the looming shortfalls expected in the Social Security and Medicare programs in coming decades; and the low personal savings rates of most Americans, coupled with the high rates of consumer and household debt. Given that the baby boomer generation is rapidly nearing retirement age and that America’s senior population is growing faster than the number of younger workers needed to cover their retirement needs, policy-makers across the country are paying a great deal of attention to this unfortunate confluence of events.

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About the Author
Sujit M. CanagaRetna is currently the senior fiscal analyst at The Council of State Governments’ Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), where he has been since March 1998. He is responsible for tracking fiscal, economic development and transportation trends for CSG and SLC. CanagaRetna has a bachelor’s degree (BA) from Bennington College, Vermont and graduate degrees in International Affairs and Public Administration (MIA/MPA) from Columbia University. Prior to joining CSG/SLC, CanagaRetna worked for the New York City Comptroller’s Office.