States have financed roughly 4% of the $627.4 billion they were projected to owe for future retiree benefits in 2010, according to Bloomberg Rankings data. Delay in containing the expenses could prove more costly in the future as states may face higher borrowing costs, the number of adults becoming eligible for retirement is only increasing, and states might have to terminate services to pay for promised benefits. “There’s a bit of reluctance to tackle the problem because it’s going to be someone else’s problem in a few years,” says Glen Volk, an actuary for Gallagher Benefit Services Inc. in Illinois. “Some think it’s not a real liability, that it’s an accounting thing.”
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