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The Center Square) – Net liabilities in Pennsylvania for so-called other post-employment benefits (OPEBs), which consist mainly of health care obligations to retired public employees, stood at about $38.5 billion in fiscal-year 2019, according to a recent analysis from the Reason Foundation.

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With a population of 12.8 million, the state posted a per-capita OPEB liability of $3,010, which represents the 17th highest value among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Reason study found.

Nationally, these liabilities amount to 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, the researchers said. These debts are also geographically concentrated, with 15 government jurisdictions representing 50 percent of the total, the study found.

In addition, any plan to expand Medicare to those under age 65 would result in the federal government assuming a large share of state and local OPEB liabilities, according to the Reason Foundation. This would effectively transfer wealth to states such as New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, the researchers found.

Meanwhile, states such as South Dakota don’t offer such OPEB benefits, and other agencies are ending such benefits for new employees, according to the analysis.

 

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Fiscal-Year 2019 State and Local OPEB Liabilities

State OPEB Debt Population OPEB per Capita Rank (OPEB per Capita)
New York $313,920,086,646 19,453,561 $16,137 1
New Jersey $101,478,261,992 8,882,190 $11,425 2
Delaware $8,657,258,594 973,764 $8,891 3
Hawaii $12,393,188,491 1,415,872 $8,753 4
Connecticut $28,336,538,083 3,565,287 $7,948 5
Massachusetts $47,523,075,688 6,892,503 $6,895 6
Maryland $38,942,487,377 6,045,680 $6,441 7
Illinois $73,679,046,562 12,671,821 $5,814 8
Louisiana $23,581,901,691 4,648,794 $5,073 9
California $183,614,985,491 39,512,223 $4,647 10
Vermont $2,868,911,672 623,989 $4,598 11
North Carolina $41,342,789,101 10,488,084 $3,942 12
Texas $110,800,605,210 28,995,881 $3,821 13
Rhode Island $3,370,956,915 1,059,361 $3,182 14
Michigan $30,953,054,436 9,986,857 $3,099 15
South Carolina $15,792,680,769 5,148,714 $3,067 16
Pennsylvania $38,539,986,433 12,801,989 $3,010 17
District of Columbia $2,120,897,000 750,749 $2,825 18
Alabama $12,177,481,861 4,903,185 $2,484 19
Georgia $24,075,621,495 10,617,423 $2,268 20
New Hampshire $2,973,172,943 1,359,711 $2,187 21
Maine $2,924,651,882 1,344,212 $2,176 22
New Mexico $4,499,598,848 2,096,829 $2,146 23
Wyoming $1,137,947,859 578,759 $1,966 24
Kentucky $7,988,647,139 4,467,673 $1,788 25
Alaska $1,293,880,851 731,545 $1,769 26
Tennessee $10,172,688,062 6,829,174 $1,490 27
West Virginia $2,670,376,857 1,792,147 $1,490 28
Wisconsin $7,122,825,062 5,822,434 $1,223 29
Nevada $3,497,420,356 3,080,156 $1,135 30
Florida $22,837,941,233 21,477,737 $1,063 31
Ohio $11,592,626,048 11,689,100 $992 32
Washington $6,799,221,754 7,614,893 $893 33
Arkansas $2,495,413,962 3,017,804 $827 34
Missouri $5,044,035,010 6,137,428 $822 35
Virginia $5,716,050,225 8,535,519 $670 36
Oklahoma $2,199,836,311 3,956,971 $556 37
Oregon $2,144,405,865 4,217,737 $508 38
Minnesota $2,742,244,233 5,639,632 $486 39
Nebraska $889,275,137 1,934,408 $460 40
Colorado $2,584,825,548 5,758,736 $449 41
Iowa $1,379,321,377 3,155,070 $437 42
Arizona $2,322,647,300 7,278,717 $319 43
Mississippi $789,643,944 2,976,149 $265 44
Montana $280,486,910 1,068,778 $262 45
Kansas $568,013,022 2,913,314 $195 46
Indiana $1,245,566,292 6,732,219 $185 47
Idaho $254,923,323 1,787,065 $143 48
Utah $375,298,520 3,205,958 $117 49
South Dakota $75,933,081 884,659 $86 50
North Dakota $62,375,435 762,062 $82 51

Source: Reason Foundation

published here with permission THE CENTER SQUARE 

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