Public Sector Pension Reform: Addressing Pressing Fiscal Realities from a Long-Term Perspective

Thomas L. Gais
Director, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
The State University of New York

Paul J. Yakoboski
Senior Economist, TIAA-CREF Institute

June 2013 |

Addressing the dynamics of public sector pension reform was the subject of the forum, Public Sector Pension Reform: Addressing Pressing Fiscal Realities from a Long-Term Perspective, sponsored by the TIAA-CREF Institute and SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government. Retirement plan coverage remains near-universal among full-time employees in the state and local government workforce. The primary plan type in the sector is almost always a defined benefit plan, which is often supplemented by a voluntary defined contribution plan. That said, given the effects of the recent economic downturn, underlying state and local government fiscal challenges, and evolution in the structure of the public sector workforce, there has been and will continue to be much change in the provision of public sector retirement benefits. The forum examined the experience of a range of states and localities in addressing their pension funding challenges through different reform strategies. Beyond that, it considered future evolution in the sector’s workforce and employment model and how this will and should interact with retirement plan design. This report summarizes and synthesizes the experiences and thinking shared at that forum to provide a resource for others in addressing the same issues.

© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017