Moody’s Investors Service has identified 10 states whose overwhelming public pension burden is even worse than previously thought.
The findings are the result of new methodology that Moody’s says achieves greater transparency and comparability. Moody’s ranks a state’s adjusted net pension liability by calculating the ratio of ANPL as a percentage of governmental revenues.
Over the past three years, Moody’s has downgraded a number of these states for practices such as taking “pension holidays,” deliberately ignoring actuarially required contributions in order to balance budgets.
“The states that have the largest relative pension liabilities have at least one thing in common,” Moody’s said in a report, “a history of contributing less to their pension plans than the actuarially required contributions.”
By comparison, the ANPL ratios of the three states in the best shape are Nebraska (7 percent), Wisconsin (14 percent), and Idaho (15 percent).
Based on ANPL as a percentage of revenues, here are the 10 states in the most trouble, starting with the very worst (figures are in billions):
ANPL as a percentage of state revenues: 241 percent
ANPL (in billions): $139,968,296
ANPL as a percentage of PI: 24 percent
ANPL as a percentage of GDP: 20 percent
Per capita income: $10,340
ANPL as a percentage of state revenues: 190 percent
ANPL as a percentage of PI: 20 percent
ANPL as a percentage of GDP: 18 percent
Per capita income: $11,595