Blog: Pensions

For those who have kept up with Pioneer’s work on pensions, it’s clear that Massachusetts’s public retirement systems are troubled. However, readers still may wonder how these systems compare to those in other states.  Unfortunately, a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the Commonwealth’s state-run pensions are underperforming relative to other states. This...
In 2018, the Commonwealth provided $5.2 Billion in pension benefits to retirees in the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) and Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS). Of this amount, 42.6 percent went to the MSERS and 57.4 percent went to the MTRS. The public can sort through this pension data on MassOpenBooks, Pioneer Institute’s government...
As Pioneer has previously discussed, Massachusetts continues to kick the can down the road with regard to its public pension liabilities. Legislators and municipalities have not only delayed the funding schedules of these pension systems, but have also back-loaded them, leaving the bulk of debt amortization for the future, while only paying small amounts now....
It’s no secret that Massachusetts’s public pension systems are following a dangerous path. At both the state and local levels, officials have allowed unfunded pension liabilities to grow at unsustainable rates. According to a recent Pioneer study, unfunded liabilities of the state’s three retirement systems grew by 196% between 2003 and 2017.  Most of the...
Despite the overall dismal performance of Massachusetts’s public pensions, there are systems that have done a noteworthy job of reducing their unfunded liability. For taxpayers who contribute to these systems and public employees who benefit from them, this is great news. It means they are less likely to see tax hikes and/or reduced benefits. It’s...
As detailed in a recent study published by the Pioneer Institute, Massachusetts continues to put off fully funding its public pension plans. This is especially concerning since the interest that accrues from deferred payments dramatically increases the amount taxpayers ultimately have to pay.   To help inform citizens about the current status of the state’s 106 public pension systems, Pioneer’s MassPensions.com has graded each system....
The Massachusetts’ Teachers Retirement System and the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System provided approximately $2.99 and $2.22 billion in benefits, respectively, for a total of $5.21 billion in 2018. According to Pioneer Institute's MassOpenBooks, a government transparency tool that provides data on the Commonwealth’s retirement systems, these benefits went to 64,734 retirees in the Massachusetts’...
A recent study from economist Evgenia Gorina, published in the journal State and Local Government Review, found a positive relationship between a local government's reliance on property taxes as a revenue source and how well-funded their pensions are. In other words, local governments that rely heavily on property taxes as funding sources tend to have...
A few weeks ago, Boston Police commissioner William B. Evans announced his retirement, and just this week William Gross was sworn in as the new Boston Police Department Commissioner at a ceremony held at the Morning Star Baptist Church in Mattapan. After 38 years on the Boston police force and four years as commissioner, William Evans decided...
In light of recent turmoil in the Department of State Police (DSP), Governor Baker has called for not only revoking the pensions of the troopers involved in the overtime scandal, but to be harder on the forfeiture of pensions. In recent months, troopers who are under investigation have rushed to retire to keep their pensions...