Introduction for Resources Page

Articles and Studies

Pension changes challenged in California

California, which contains $550 billion to $750 billion of the nation’s total unfunded pension liabilities, will no longer see on November’s ballot a bipartisan bill to curb public pensions. Read more. 

Steps toward pension reform for Milwaukee Public Schools

“Without Act 10, MPS would eventually spend an additional $105 million – 9.2% of its entire budget – in 2020 due to the growth of retirement expenses,” says a statement released with the new summary report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Read more on how Act 10 drives down MPS retiree health care, pension costs.

Actuaries say public pensions underfunded by $5 trillion

“A Pension Task Force established by the Actuarial Standards Board (ASB) has recommended rules changes that would require all pension actuaries to calculate and disclose the “market value” of retirement plan liabilities, a step that has been fought hard by the public pensions industry.

“Almost no other pension plans in the world are allowed to use the kind of accounting that U.S. state and local plans can. Corporate pension plans can’t discount their liabilities using the assumed return on investment. Nor can most public employee pensions in other countries.


Colorado PERA’s take on current investment earnings

Although Colorado’s pension system did not see large earnings on investments in 2015, Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association had a “troubling spin” on PERA’s returns. Read more. 

Pithy Video

This short video from the folks at does a superb job of explaining the basic issues at play in the ongoing debate over public sector pensions. This one focuses on public school teachers, but its points are applicable across the board.

“Risky Retirement”

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation commissioned this 2015 study of PERA and its precarious position. It’s a must read, and despite the complexity of the issues discussed, it’s highly readable.

PERA member profiles

These true-to-life profiles of different types of PERA members illustrate why the current system poorly serves a large number of Colorado state employees, including teachers.

National Context

The National Center on Teacher Quality producedthis landmark report early in 2015. It place a national context around Colorado’s public pension woes.

Riskier Investments

In 2014, the Pew Charitable Trusts examined how public pension investments have shifted to increasingly risky stock investments and away from government and high-quality corporate bonds. Read the Pew report here.

Risk Redux

The Wall Street Journal published an in-depth article in May on the pension risk issue. Read it here. 

PERA reports and documents

PERA 2015 Report

PERA’s 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was released on June 21, 2016. It showed paltry investment gains for 2015, but put what a Denver Post editorial termed “troubling spin” on the bad news. Read the report here.

PERA 2014 Report

As the date approaches for release of PERA’s 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, it’s worth revisiting the 2014 report. Read the summary report here.