Most state and local governments have fully funded their annual pension obligations over the past dozen or so years, with only a small number failing to do so.

That unfairly skews the overall numbers for public pensions, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators said in a report whose conclusions run counter to the popularly held belief that the public defined benefits model is in bad shape.

The association examined the annual required contribution records of 112 public pension plans from 2001 to 2013. It found that, in the aggregate, half of the plans met at least 95.1 percent of their required contributions. It also noted that:

  • All but two states paid at least one-half of their annual required contribution, or ARC.
  • All but six states paid at least 75 percent of their ARC.
  • The average plan received 89.3 percent of its ARC. 

Moreover, some of the state systems examined actually paid more than required.

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