Over the past several months, we’ve taken a keen interest in the deteriorating condition of state and local government finances in America.
Moody’s move to downgrade the city of Chicago to junk in May put fiscal mismanagement in the national spotlight and indeed, the Illinois Supreme Court ruling that triggered the downgrade (in combination with a subsequent ruling by a Cook County court which struck down a bid to reform the city’s pensions), effectively set a precedent for other states and localities, meaning that now, solving the growing underfunded pension liability problem will be that much more difficult.
Just how big of a problem is this you ask? Well, pretty big, according to Moody’s which, as we noted last month, contends that the largest 25 public pensions are underfunded by some $2 trillion.
It’s against that backdrop that we present the following graphic and color from Goldman which together demonstrate the amount by which state and local governments would need to raise contributions to “bring plans into balance over time.”