The good news on pension reform is that government watchdog groups have finally taken this issue on in a big way.  And since, in the end, pensions are all about numbers, studes and data abound.

In addtion to our own informative data and background information, we’ve gleaned some of the best data from other sources.  If you know of a study that we should add to the list, please let us know:


“Public pension benefits and the law” Ronald A. Wirtz – Editor, fedgazette, January 2011

Two Minnesota pension experts – Amy Monahan of the University of Minnesota Law School and Larry Martin, Executive Director of the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement – offer their insights into legal aspects of pension benefit protections for local and state government workers.

“Public pensions: Feeding, and fixing, the sausage machine” Ronald A. Wirtz – Editor, fedgazette, January 2011

This report and video from the fedgazette makes the case for public concern about pension debt.  Pension basics and great clickable charts that show the scope of the problem.  A PDF version is available here

“Large numbers of state employees will be retiring soon” MMB: Workforce Report 2010

This new report from the state budget agency warns, “Retirements increased over 16 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2010 and are likely to increase even more in 2011.”

Public Pensions in Minnesota: Re-Definable Benefits and Under-Reported Performance

This 2006 study set the groundwork for serious research into Minnesota’s pension crisis.

Essential Reading: LCPR staff review of 2010 Sustainability Legislation (Large File; Slow Loading)

This February 2010 memo by Pension Commission Executive Director Larry Martin discusses critical policy implications of the 2010 Sustainability Bill. Discussion and Analysis of the complex policy issues that are part of the 2010 legislation begin on Page 4.

2010 Sustainability Legislation Chart:  Quick summary chart of sustainability changes by plan.


Minnesota Taxpayers Association:

Minnesota Public Sector Compensation Part 1:Costs, Trends, and Comparisons to the Private Sectore-Definable Benefits and Under-Reported Performance

Minnesota Public Sector Compensation Part 2:Frozen Assets in Public Sector Compensation: Issues in Promoting Results-Oriented Workforce Reform

National Conference of State Legislatures report on state defined contribution and hybrid pension plans

This study by NCSL researcher Ronald Snell documents the few government pension plans that are similar to those available to the majority of private sector employees. “The overwhelming majority of statewide retirement plans for public employees and for teachers are traditional defined benefit plans. These provide a guaranteed life-time retirement benefit based on an employee’s years of service and final salary.”

Understanding actuarial funding versus market valuation

Read Andrew G. Biggs report on bookkeeping practices of state and local government pension plans.  From the report: “Moreover, these structural problems are masked by accounting methods that significantly understate the market value of public sector pension shortfalls while encouraging pensions to overinvest in risky assets.”

National Pension Study Links