CARSON CITY — The financial health of Nevada’s public employee pension plan is cause for serious concern, because it is only 70 percent funded as of fiscal 2010 with a $10 billion gap, a national organization reported.
The Pew Center on the States‘ report released Monday said the funding ratio in Nevada is below the 80 percent benchmark that fiscal experts recommend for a sustainable program.
In 2010, Nevada paid 92 percent of the recommended contribution to its pension plans and just 21 percent of what the state should have paid to fund retiree health benefits, the study found.
Nevada’s “serious concerns” grade for its pension plan is the lowest of three in the Pew report, which examines the solvency of public pension plans nationwide. The state received a better “needs improvement” grade on the retiree health-care issue. The top ranking is “solid performer.”
Dana Bilyeu, executive officer of Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System, said that while she respects the Pew Center’s efforts to calculate the national pension liability, the heavy reliance on the funding ratio for the state scores presents an incomplete picture.
“Nevada has always made its payments,” she said. “Both the employers and the public employees themselves. And to me that is the single best measure for determining if a pension plan is in trouble.”