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    United States Socialist Republic book by HG Goerner

    Beyond pension debts, California owes $183.6 billion in public-employee retirement benefits

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    The Center Square 

    Net liabilities in California for so-called other post-employment benefits (OPEBs), which consist mainly of health care obligations to retired public employees, stood at about $183.6 billion in fiscal-year 2019, according to a new analysis from the Reason Foundation. 

    With a population of 39,512,223, the state posted a per-capita OPEB liability of $4,647, which represents the 10th highest value among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Reason study found. 

    In total, these liabilities amount to 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, the researchers said. These debts are also geographically concentrated, with 15 government jurisdictions representing 50 percent of the total, the study found. 

    In addition, any plan to expand Medicare to those under age 65 would result in the federal government assuming a large share of state and local OPEB liabilities, according to the Reason Foundation. This would effectively transfer wealth to states such as New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, the researchers found.

    Meanwhile, states such as South Dakota don’t offer such OPEB benefits, and other agencies are ending such benefits for new employees, according to the analysis.

    Fiscal-Year 2019 State and Local OPEB Liabilities

    State OPEB Debt Population OPEB per Capita Rank (OPEB per Capita)
    New York $313,920,086,646 19,453,561 $16,137 1
    New Jersey $101,478,261,992 8,882,190 $11,425 2
    Delaware $8,657,258,594 973,764 $8,891 3
    Hawaii $12,393,188,491 1,415,872 $8,753 4
    Connecticut $28,336,538,083 3,565,287 $7,948 5
    Massachusetts $47,523,075,688 6,892,503 $6,895 6
    Maryland $38,942,487,377 6,045,680 $6,441 7
    Illinois $73,679,046,562 12,671,821 $5,814 8
    Louisiana $23,581,901,691 4,648,794 $5,073 9
    California $183,614,985,491 39,512,223 $4,647 10
    Vermont $2,868,911,672 623,989 $4,598 11
    North Carolina $41,342,789,101 10,488,084 $3,942 12
    Texas $110,800,605,210 28,995,881 $3,821 13
    Rhode Island $3,370,956,915 1,059,361 $3,182 14
    Michigan $30,953,054,436 9,986,857 $3,099 15
    South Carolina $15,792,680,769 5,148,714 $3,067 16
    Pennsylvania $38,539,986,433 12,801,989 $3,010 17
    District of Columbia $2,120,897,000 750,749 $2,825 18
    Alabama $12,177,481,861 4,903,185 $2,484 19
    Georgia $24,075,621,495 10,617,423 $2,268 20
    New Hampshire $2,973,172,943 1,359,711 $2,187 21
    Maine $2,924,651,882 1,344,212 $2,176 22
    New Mexico $4,499,598,848 2,096,829 $2,146 23
    Wyoming $1,137,947,859 578,759 $1,966 24
    Kentucky $7,988,647,139 4,467,673 $1,788 25
    Alaska $1,293,880,851 731,545 $1,769 26
    Tennessee $10,172,688,062 6,829,174 $1,490 27
    West Virginia $2,670,376,857 1,792,147 $1,490 28
    Wisconsin $7,122,825,062 5,822,434 $1,223 29
    Nevada $3,497,420,356 3,080,156 $1,135 30
    Florida $22,837,941,233 21,477,737 $1,063 31
    Ohio $11,592,626,048 11,689,100 $992 32
    Washington $6,799,221,754 7,614,893 $893 33
    Arkansas $2,495,413,962 3,017,804 $827 34
    Missouri $5,044,035,010 6,137,428 $822 35
    Virginia $5,716,050,225 8,535,519 $670 36
    Oklahoma $2,199,836,311 3,956,971 $556 37
    Oregon $2,144,405,865 4,217,737 $508 38
    Minnesota $2,742,244,233 5,639,632 $486 39
    Nebraska $889,275,137 1,934,408 $460 40
    Colorado $2,584,825,548 5,758,736 $449 41
    Iowa $1,379,321,377 3,155,070 $437 42
    Arizona $2,322,647,300 7,278,717 $319 43
    Mississippi $789,643,944 2,976,149 $265 44
    Montana $280,486,910 1,068,778 $262 45
    Kansas $568,013,022 2,913,314 $195 46
    Indiana $1,245,566,292 6,732,219 $185 47
    Idaho $254,923,323 1,787,065 $143 48
    Utah $375,298,520 3,205,958 $117 49
    South Dakota $75,933,081 884,659 $86 50
    North Dakota $62,375,435 762,062 $82 51

    Source: Reason Foundation

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