San Diego’s Pension Shortfalls Are Troubling

San Diego has a major problem on its hands.

San Diego county and city pension funds have nearly $7 billion less in the bank than they need to cover benefits already earned by current and former employees, a deficit that’s risen 90 percent in just two years, new reports show.

Assets held by the county pension fund topped $10.2 billion last fiscal year, but are more than $4 billion short of the money needed to fulfill retirement promises in the coming years. Despite county reforms in 2009 and state reforms in 2012 that lowered retirement payouts for new employees, the funding gap is growing.

The $4 billion figure comes out to over $3,700 per household countywide. In 2013-14, that figure was $1,900 per household. For the city pension fund deficits, we’re looking at $5,900 per household, up more than $2,500 in two years.

San Diego’s troubles mimic a larger trend at the state and national levels. Thanks to lofty promises, years of underwhelming market performance, and longer life expectancies, the gap between available resources and unfunded liabilities continues to widen, threatening the solvency of state and local governments.

Read more about San Diego’s pension woes at Voice of San Diego.