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State and Local Pension Reform: Can We Cut Costs and Improve Retirement Security?

Faced with deficits exceeding $2 trillion nationwide, public-employee retirement plans across the country have been trimming pension costs by cutting benefits and raising employee contributions. Such actions, however, have undermined retirement security for many plan participants. Are there better ways for state and local pension plans to balance their books? For example, should plans fundamentally reform their benefit formulas, switch to alternative plan designs, or enroll all employees in Social Security?

Panelists examined the funding of state and local pensions and assessed various reform options. Panelists also unveiled new online tools that allow policymakers and researchers to compare plan finances and benefits and assess the potential effects of different reforms.

For inquiries regarding this event, please contact Ivy Hunter at [email protected].

The Urban Institute's work on public pensions is funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


  • Tracy Gordon, senior fellow, Urban Institute

  • Jean-Pierre Aubry, assistant director of state and local research, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
  • William Gale, director, Retirement Security Project, Brookings Institution
  • Richard Johnson, senior fellow and director, Program on Retirement Policy, Urban Institute 



Date & Time Tuesday, December 9, 2014

  • Codirector
  • Vice President of Tax Policy
    Codirector, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
    Acting Robert C. Pozen Director, Tax Policy
  • Senior Fellow
    Director, Program on Retirement Policy