Maybe Pension Funding Gaps Are About to Double Under New Reporting Standard

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So so doomed:

The gap between what state pension plans have promised retired workers and the money they have set aside to pay them is about to start looking worse — twice as bad, for major PA and NJ pension plans — now that the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is belatedly trying to impose standard reporting on the wildly differing state and city pension systems, says a group of pension scholars at Boston College.

GASB’s new pension reporting standards — approved in a vote yesterday though detailed guidelines won’t be issued til later this year — are expected to reduce the gap between what pension plans own and what they owe, as used by investors and ratings agencies to calculate state solvency and rate financial risk.

So under the old reporting standard, PSERS is funded at 75%, but under the new reporting standard, it’s funded at 34.2%. Under the old standard, SERS is funded at 75.2%, but under the new standard, it’s funded at 50.7%.

(Thanks: Joe DiStefano and Chris Briem)

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