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Change: Wisconsin pension system now strongest in the country

Change: Wisconsin pension system now strongest in the country

A new study on funding gaps in state pension programs offers more vindication for Republican recall-surviving Gov. Scott Walker.  According to the study by Pew Research, Wisconsin’s pension system is now the only in the nation to be 100% funded and labeled a "solid performer."

Many experts say that a healthy pension system should be at least 80 percent funded. In 2000, more than half of the

states were 100 percent funded, but by 2010 only Wisconsin was fully funded, and 34 were below the 80 percent threshold—up from 31 in 2009 and just 22 in 2008.

Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island ranked the worst; all were under 55 percent funded in 2010. At the other end of the spectrum, four states were funded at 95 percent or better: North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In response to the study, Walker responded with a statement:

“Our reforms will only make Wisconsin’s pension system stronger by protecting current and future retiree benefits and keeping the state fiscally strong,” said Governor Walker.  “Illinois’ leaders could learn from the hard, but necessary decisions we made in Wisconsin.  Because of our prudent decisions, state programs as well as our employers and taxpayers will not be under the imminent stress of increased taxes and/or cuts.  Wisconsin is leading the nation forward to a more prosperous future.”

To see the complete study, click here (PDF).

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