State and local pension systems are at a crossroads, with pension reform efforts being spurred by ballooning cost projections and an estimated $2.7 trillion nationwide funding gap. Failing pension systems broadly impact the American citizenry – from taxpayers who want to keep costs down yet still receive high-quality public services, to public-sector teachers, police officers and firefighters who want to preserve their retirement security. Political factors have long impeded legislative pension reform, but in recent years a number of states have succeeded in enacting significant reforms to their systems.
On February 26, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings released two papers (available here) that examine pension reform efforts across the nation and provide actionable policy solutions aimed at those states still struggling with underfunded pension systems. A presentation of the papers’ findings by authors Patrick McGuinn and Patten Priestley Mahler was followed by a keynote presentation by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and a panel discussion with leaders who have helped to develop noteworthy reforms to public pension systems at the state and local level.
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