• Over $210 billion is distributed annually from state and local retirement trust funds to beneficiaries. Public pension are financed through a combination of contributions from public employers (an average of 26 percent of all public pension revenue from 1982 to 2011), employees (an average of 13 percent), and investment returns (an average of 61 percent). Retirement programs, however, represent a relatively small percentage of total government spending according to NASRA’s evaluation of U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • Who benefits from pension enhancement? According to an analysis of benefit enhancements in Missouri, teachers who stay in one system for an entire career. But this comes at the expense of novice or future teachers.
  • The gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money they have set aside to pay these bills was at least $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2016, according to Pew's comprehensive analysis on pension and retiree health care funding.
  • Focusing on the Kansas City and Saint Louis school districts, the authors argue that the defined benefit pension structure does not benefit Missouri’s urban schools. The authors find that pension systems reward only a small percentage of teachers who remain in the same district for an extended period, while severely penalizing teachers who move across districts or leave the profession.
  • This paper argues that transition costs from moving from defined benefit pension systems to defined contribution plans are minor and should not stand in the way to pension reform.