Tick Tock Goes the Pension Clock

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BY MALIA BLOM HILL – In a previous post, we discussed how Hawaii is facing a pension crisis (and you can always view some of the state’s pension expenditures on the Hawaii Sunshine website).

Today, we’ll take a deeper look at how serious that problem is.


In short–nine years.

We have nine years before our state pension funds run dry.

And we’re still hiring state employees, still buckling to union pressure . . . in short, we’re doing nothing but marching blindly towards crisis.

The figures come from an article written in 2010 by Josh Rauh of the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, who looked at state public employee pension programs across the country and identified several that were on the verge of collapse.

According to Rauh’s calculations, some states face a critical shortage as soon as 2017, while Hawaii makes the top 10 with its funds estimated to run dry in 2020.

So we don’t have a lot of time to start finding solutions.  And we know that certain politicians will automatically fall back on is increasing taxes.

But there are other options that don’t necessitate another tax bill for the Hawaiian family.  It will take political courage (ahem), but perhaps it’s time to consider reform that will cap benefits and cut spending.

Because the one thing that’s not going to work is just hoping the whole thing goes away.