S&P on “other” retiree benefits: NY is #10 – UPDATED

by Nicole Gelinas |  | NY Torch

S&P has just put out a report (no link) on the amount of money that state governments have promised to current and future retirees in “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB), mostly health.

The total in unfunded liabilities? $545 billion — of which New York State owes $55.9 billion, or 10.3 percent.

That’s more than New York’s 6.4 percent of the U.S. population.

New York clocks in at #10 in the amount that each individual person in the state owes, with a $2,859 unfunded liability per capita.

In worse shape than the Empire State, on a per-capita basis, are Alaska ($12,376), Connecticut ($7,551), New Jersey ($6,808), Hawaii ($6,786), Delaware ($6,530), West Virginia ($4,083). North Carolina ($3,508), Alabama ($3,249), and Maryland ($2,868).

The national median is $1,011 per capita. But the national average is $1,884 per capita, showing wide divergence.

S&P warns against making the direct comparisons without taking some differences into account. Some states, for example, include local school districts’ liabilities in the state burden. New York doesn’t.

Last year, E.J. scoured state and local financial statements to come up with a total of $205 billion in unfunded state and local liabilities.

UPDATE: In its enacted budget (p27), New  York has provided an updated figure of $60.2 billion for state liabilities, including $10.1 billion for the State University of New York (SUNY).