By Matt A. Mayer
If all Ohioans had the same benefit as government workers, it would cost active workers $123 billion per year, or 26 percent of Ohio’s GDP.
Based on its latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), available at www.opers.org/investments/cafr.shtml, the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) is only 75.3 percent funded, which means for every $1.00 it owes retirees it possesses just 75 cents (CAFR 7).
OPERS admits two funding issues: “Members are living longer in retirement than originally contemplated when the System was created, and [m]any members have more retirement years than contributing years as public employees” (CAFR 9). Essentially, government workers are retiring at a young age and are living longer in retirement than they did as employees. OPERS notes that members are living 2.5 times longer in retirement than the original 10-year expectation.
OPERS’ health care plan is even in worse shape than the pension plan. It is only 36.3 percent funded (i.e., 36 cents for every $1.00 in liabilities) (CAFR 25).
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