Retirees and public employees in Missouri should feel good about the security of their retirement. Missouri’s public pensions are healthy and state politicians have largely avoided unnecessary, misguided attacks on pensions.
Last year, the executive director of the Public School Retirement System of Missouri reported to a group of retired teachers on the health of the system. The system is between 85 and 90 percent funded, well on its way to the goal of 100 percent funding within thirty years. Almost two-thirds of its money comes from investment returns with the remainder divided between employee and employer contributions. Finally, approximately 90 percent of payouts from the pension system are made to people still living in Missouri. This accounts for over $2 billion of economic activity in the state each year.
A traditional defined benefit pension remains the best way to provide retirement security to teachers, nurses and other public employees, with more bang for the buck for Missouri taxpayers. That’s why even legislators who have introduced other anti-public worker legislation this session have struggled to justify attacks on the pension system.