Across the country, states’ pension nightmares continue to grow worse. According to a recent report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), state and local pension plan unfunded liabilities ballooned from $433 billion to more than $6 trillion in the last year. For Wisconsin residents at least, the news is a bit less dire—the state is one of five with the best funded plans, owing $10,314 per resident to fulfill its obligation (rather than $18,676 per person on average or $45,689 per person in Alaska’s case).
Additionally, the Wisconsin State Journal reported, the Wisconsin Retirement System funds showed strong returns—double-digit earnings, in fact—in 2017. Both funds, the Core Fund and the Variable Fund, outperformed the benchmark return levels. These funds cover pensions for almost 198,000 retired public employees.
Wisconsin still has work to do, but ALEC’s report showed the state is doing better than most.
“Relative to other states, Wisconsin is in a league of its own with a 61.5 percent funding ratio (using a risk-free rate of return assumption),” the report said. “The next most responsibly managed state pension system, South Dakota, is 13 percentage points less funded than Wisconsin. The state of Wisconsin does far better than others in pursuing retirement security to current and past employees, alongside fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.”