New California Pension Data Now Online

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California’s financial transparency website now features pension data on its state, county, and city-level pension systems.

The site includes data on assets, liabilities, funding ratios, membership statistics and actuarially required contributions, among other things.

More from MML News:

State Controller John Chiang has just made over a decade’s worth of state pension fund information available for public view on his open data website, ByTheNumbers.sco.ca.gov.

The site already allows taxpayers to track balance sheets of the state’s 58 counties and 450-plus cities in terms of their revenues, expenditures, liabilities, assets, and fund balances.

According to Chiang, this latest, massive data dump, representing over a million new data fields, provides “a one-stop portal into the financial underpinnings” of each of California’s 130 public pension systems. The information comes as the state and local communities continue to wrestle with managing pension costs, including how to manage the unfunded liabilities associated with providing retirement security to police, firefighters, teachers and other providers of critical public services.

The Sacramento Bee has already crunched some of the numbers:

Local-government employers contributions to defined-benefit retirement systems have nearly tripled in the last 11 years, according to the most recent data published by the California State Controller’s Office, while employee contributions have nearly doubled.

Meanwhile, more retirees are drawing money from their retirement systems while fewer active employees are paying in. Some of the troubling numbers:

– Cities and counties statewide paid $17.52 billion last year into pension funds, up from $6.38 billion in 2003. Employees’ contributions rose from $5.21 billion to $9.07 billion in 2013.

– Despite receiving more money, pension systems’ unfunded liabilities soared from $6.33 billion to $198.16 billion over the 11-year span.

– The number of local government retirees drawing benefits increased 50 percent, from a little over 800,000 in 2003 to 1.22 million last year.

– In 2013, there were 2.14 million active employees who paid into their retirement systems, down slightly from 2.25 million workers on local government payrolls in 2003.

You can view the data at https://bythenumbers.sco.ca.gov/.

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