Wisconsin Pension System Rated Nation’s Strongest
A study released this week by the investment research firm Morningstar, Inc., concluded that Wisconsin has the strongest pension fund among all the states. Wisconsin led nationally by having the highest ratio of fund assets compared to liabilities. With a ratio of 99.8%, Wisconsin was one of just 7 states in 2011 to surpass the 90% level. In addition, Wisconsin had the lowest unfunded liability per capita, of $23 per state resident — far below the $160 per resident in Washington State, which was second lowest.
I apologize if this post could be considered old news, considering that Wisconsin has ranked first or second for a number of years in the fiscal health of the pension fund for public sector employees. Despite that, I think the Morningstar report is worth noting, since we often hear about fiscal practices in our state that are considerably less positive. With that in mind, I think it’s worth celebrating the fact that one of the state’s longstanding fiscal practices has made us a national leader.
Morningstar set 70% as the minimum level for a “fiscally sound” pension system. Its report found that following the recession and its reduction of pension assets, there are 21 states with funding ratios below the 70% standard. The three lowest ratios are in Illinois (43.4%), Kentucky (50.5%) and Connecticut (53.4%).
Read more in this November 29 article on Governing.com, which also has a comparative map of the pension funding ratios for all the states.