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.
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).