National Association of State Retirement Administrators

Significant Reforms to State Retirement Systems


Although states have a history of making adjustments to their workforce retirement programs, changes to public pension plan design and financing have never been more numerous or significant than in the years following the Great Recession. The global stock market crash sharply reduced state and local pension fund asset values, from $3.15 trillion at the end of 2007 to $2.17 trillion in March 2009, and due to this loss, pension costs increased. These higher costs hit state and local governments right as the economic recession began to severely lower their revenues. These events played a major role in prompting changes to public pension plans and financing that were unprecedented in number, scope, and magnitude.

Date published

December 2018


Keith Brainard, Research Director

Alex Brown, Research Manager

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