California’s 24 local pension systems are underfunded to the tune of $135.7 billion, according a new report from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
The study of the state’s 24 largest independent pension systems found a funded ratio of 54% based on a discount rate for liabilities of 5%.
Aggregated pension costs took up around 10% of total municipal spending last year, according to the study conducted by Joe Nation, a Stanford academic and former state assemblyman, and Evan Storms of the group California Common Sense.
Pension costs have been a rising source of political debate since municipal tax revenues have fallen off as result of the housing bust.
From 1999 to 2010, the report found that pension spending grew 11.4% per year. The study also found that the 24 pension systems typically discounted the liabilities at an expected rate of return of 7.75%.
Nation has focused his recent research on the state’s pension systems.
In 2010, another report by Nation found that the unfunded liabilities of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the California Teachers’ Retirement System and the University of California Retirement System hit $425 billion in June 2008, using a risk-free rate.