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State government employees retirement benefits a total mess

You thought the fed employees were in bad shape?
You thought the fed employees were in bad shape?
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The federal government isn’t the only branch out of control. Consider the state employees and this astonishing statistic: In the average state, full-career state government employees collect more in retirement benefits than 72 percent of full-time workers earn on the job in that state.

An analysis reported Wednesday by the American Enterprise Institute outright rejected the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ claim its “average member” receives a pension of only around $19,000 a year.

The truth is, a full-career state government employee who retired in 2011 or 2012 after 30 to 35 years on the job receives an annual pension benefit of $36,131, according to Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the AEI.

That’s just the average. Retirees in selected states receive immensely more. For instance, average annual benefits for a full-career retiree in Nevada reach $64,008; in California, $61,560; in Colorado, $60,420.

That’s nowhere near the $19,000 claim the AFSCME put forth. Retirees in almost all the states, including California, are also eligible for Social Security benefits that bring their income up even further, the AEI points out.

There are states below the $19,000 mark including Mississippi at a lowly $14,844 a year. But overall, the AEI calculated the average full-career state government employee has a combined pension and Social Security income higher than 72 percent of full-time employees working within that state. That percentage is higher in a number of states.
For instance, West Virginia is 89 percent of their working paycheck, North Carolina, 88 percent; in four other states, it's 87 percent - and in Oregon, the average full-career retiree collects more than 90 percent of full-time workers in the state.

It should be noted that state government retirees can also receive interest or dividend income. Most have lifetime health coverage. Now, keep in mind that $19,000 per year average pension that was quoted.

The AEI computes that an average full-career state government worker retiring at age 60 who lives until 84 will receive a lifetime pension benefits of $768,940 – and eight states total over $1 million.

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