States Ignore Real Pension Reform at Own Peril

Feeble attempts thus far aren't fixing problems


With its feeble pension legislation last month, California joined a big club of states loudly proclaiming reforms that, in fact, do little to solve a problem that now stretches into the trillions of dollars.

Since 2009, more than 40 states have reported enacting some manner of changes to their pension systems to save money. But pension debt keeps rising and annual payments to pension systems from government budgets are spiking in many places, in part because many of these so-called reforms are superficial in nature.