Hanging by a Thread

Dec 05, 2011

By Adam Schwiebert


A deep fiscal hole is engulfing Ohio taxpayers. No one disputes that a fulfilling and financially stable retirement is something that every Ohioan should be able to enjoy. Ohioans in the public and private sectors alike should expect a level of retirement that allows them to comfortably live their remaining years without fear of financial hardship. But guaranteeing that public employees receive a level of retirement far beyond that of private-sector employees, especially when financed by taxpayers, is unfair and has proven fiscally unsustainable.

If every Ohioan received a pension similar to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) career pension of $39,780, it would cost current workers over $123 billion per year, which equates to 25 percent of Ohio’s Gross Domestic Product ($483 billion). On a per capita basis, it would cost working Ohioans $26,851 per year to fund the pensions of retired Ohioans. Such a cost would crush Ohio’s economy. If changes are not made to public pensions, the required tax hikes to bail them out would be equally crushing.

It is no secret that public-pension reform is inevitable; several of Ohio’s pension funds have already begged for reforms in an e ort to clean up their balance sheets. The question that remains is: What shape will this reform take?

Click here to download the full report: Hanging by a Thread