State and local pension plans have experienced significant challenges over the past two decades. Public pensions are riskier and harder to manage than previously understood, and governments must adjust policy and practice to better manage these risks. This report provides actionable recommendations to help policymakers address pension funding issues and avoid worst-case scenarios. We provide a simple rating system to help stakeholders better understand the financial risks their plans face, discuss the policy options and mechanisms available to governments whose plans face a solvency crisis, and outline policy options that can help prevent plans from falling into a crisis.
The acknowledgments section of this report was updated on January 27, 2022.
On April 15, 2022, the report cover and the About the Authors section were updated to clarify that Donald Boyd is a nonresident fellow at the Urban Institute.