Attracting talent into public service, whether as a public school teacher, law enforcement officer or any number of critical positions, is critical to the proper functioning of a state. Pensions play a key role in this, providing retirement security in exchange for years of service at what is often a lower rate of compensation compared to private industry.
As recent as 2020, the state retiree pension plan was operating with a $26 billion deficit due to mismanagement and past miscalculations. South Carolina was ranked second-to-last with pension investment returns, and that was before COVID wrecked the markets!
One out of every nine South Carolina residents rely on the promise of this pension, but…
“…the longer state lawmakers wait to enact significantly overdue reforms to this fund (which manages an estimated $39.2 billion worth of assets) the more taxpayer-funded bailouts will be required to keep it afloat over the long haul.FITSNEWS, Aug 2021
And the costlier those bailouts will be …”
In recent years SC legislators have prioritized fringe social issues above tackling this deficit because, quite frankly, it’s a hard problem to solve.
There are several states in the US who have high funded ratios with their pension systems. Studying those best practices is a critical first start. This issue must be prioritized over the wasteful divisive items that have been consuming most of the legislative energy in recent years.