The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 17, 2010
New report shows decade of state retirement changes

101117 Pew pension map.JPG Editor's note, 2:40 p.m.: The Pew map shows legislative changes to pensions tracked by the National Conference of State Legislatures. It doesn't include recent contractual changes mandated for exempt and excluded employees or union contracts ratified by the California Legislature that require that state workers make increased contributions to their pensions.

State pension rollbacks have gained momentum nationwide, according to a report released this morning by The Pew Center on the States.

"Roads to Reform: Changes to Public Sector Retirement Benefits Across States," notes that in the first 10 months of this year, 19 states moved to reduce their pension liabilities by cutting benefits, upping employee contributions or both. Last year, 11 states made similar changes, up from eight in 2008.

As the map above from the Pew report shows, 39 states have cut their pension costs in some fashion since 2001. This link opens an interactive map that shows the last decade of changes year by year.

States also are changing retiree health benefit plans, the report notes: "All these states have acknowledged that the costs they face for these benefits have diverged from what they have been willing or able to pay and have started to take the steps to bring them back in line."

Pew's report, which you can read by clicking here, also includes state-by-state summaries of pension and retiree health benefits changes.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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