State public pension systems’ unfunded liabilities have grown to $4.7 trillion, up from $4.1 trillion in 2013, giving them a funded ratio of just 36 percent – assuming you accept the calculations of one controversial approach. 

A nonprofit called State Budget Solutions, which has been pushing for state budget reform, arrived at that figure — it’s almost five times as high as the number the states use — by using “data from over 250 state-level defined benefit pension plans holding nearly $2.6 trillion in assets” and applying a different discount rate to the one commonly used to calculate the unfunded status of a pension system. 

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