Never miss our new content.
Sign up for our Weekly Digest and discover what California Common Sense has to offer every week! Sign up for our Weekly Digest:

More Pension Math: Funded Status, Benefits, and Spending Trends



Much attention, in both policy research and broader political circles, has been paid to California’s statewide pensions systems. In contrast, virtually no systematic analysis of the state’s independent pension plans has been performed, though they collectively hold more than $150 billion in assets. The purpose of this report is to explore the 24 largest independent pension systems in 20 California municipalities.

Key Findings

  • The June 2011 funded ratio for the aggregated 24 systems is 53.6 percent, based on an assumed rate of return, or discount rate, of 5 percent.
  • The City of Fresno’s two systems have an aggregate funded ratio of 78.5 percent, while the Kern County system is only 41.5 percent funded.  None of the systems is at or above 80 percent funded, which is the conventional benchmark for the minimum funded ratio.
  • The unfunded liability forthe aggregated 24 systems is $135.7 billion.

Press Contact Us

© 2015 California Common Sense. All Rights Reserved.

Support CACS


CACS is a non-profit non-partisan think tank. We depend on donations from our audience and community members to continue advancing research on key california public policy issues. Your monetary donations are 100% tax deductible.

If you'd like to learn more about how to donate and what your donation contributes to, please feel free to contact us at (650)-625-9480 or at

Learn more about us and our donors.

Fields with * are required.

California Common Sense
2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite 210
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: (650) 625-9480