Tue., April 26, 2011 3:00pm (EDT)

Report: State Pensions Well-Funded
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

WASHINGTON  —  
Georgia is performing above average when it comes to funding its promises to state worker pensions.  But like other states, it's struggling to keep up with rising health care costs.  (photo Mingkit)
Georgia is performing above average when it comes to funding its promises to state worker pensions. But like other states, it's struggling to keep up with rising health care costs. (photo Mingkit)
Researchers at a Washington, D.C.-based think tank say, Georgia's doing better than most states in setting aside money for state worker pensions.

But the state still isn't saving enough to cover retiree health benefits.

The study by the Pew Center for the States says, Georgia has enough money to cover 87% of its pension liabilities.

That's well above the national average of 78%.

But, researcher Steve Fehr says, Georgia has enough to cover only 4% of health care benefits.

"A lot of states have just not grappled with that question yet," Fehr says. "They focus more on the pension funding."

The report says, revenue declines during the recession kept many states from making adequate contributions toward their future payouts.

"It's more difficult on the health care side because so much of the costs are not something that the state can control," says Fehr. "It can control its public pensions."

Only seven states have enough money to cover at least a quarter of their health care liabilities.