U.S. public retiree benefits gap grows to $1.38 trillion

(Reuters) - The funding gap for U.S. state public employee retirement benefits climbed by $120 billion to $1.38 billion in fiscal 2010, according to a report released on Monday.

The report comes at a time when many voters and politicians already claim that compensation for public employees is bloated.

The Pew Center on the States said that public pension systems in 34 states were funded at less than the 80 percent level that is considered the threshold for a healthy pension. That's in stark contrast to 2000, when more than half of the states' pension plans were 100 percent funded.

"The larger (the shortfalls) are, the higher the cost for taxpayers today and for many years to come," said David Draine, a Pew senior researcher, who compared many states to credit card holders who hadn't paid their bills in full but kept racking up charges.


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