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October 2013 Policy Study, Number 13-6


Iowa Legislature and Governor Need to Focus on Pension Reform


Review of National Pension Issues



The Pew Center on the States is currently working on pension-reform issues from a national perspective. Project Director Greg Minnis said in September 2013 that “Public-pension reform is arguably one of the most significant fiscal challenges facing states and municipalities today.” Their research shows that the nationwide pension debt or shortfall in 2012 totaled $757 billion.[2]


Fortunately, as this is a state issue, not a federal one – and states are generally required by law to have a balanced budget – the situation is still manageable. Most states, including Louisiana, New Jersey, and Utah, are taking proactive steps to address this huge entitlement.


Morningstar and Moody’s – two of the largest and most well-known investment advisory and credit rating firms in the country – have both recently completed reviews of the U.S. state-government-employee pension plans. These studies highlight significant problems with many of the state plans, while recognizing some star performers.




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