SDCTA Releases County of San Diego Pension Study

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) released the second in its series of reports examining the region's government employee pension plans, focusing on their impact on local government budgets. Like many other local agencies, the County of San Diego has experienced an increase in pension costs over the past decade. SDCTA identified several significant trends related to County pension costs. Among the key findings: * As of the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, the County maintains a $1.94 billion unfunded pension liability. * County contributions to the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA) increased dramatically in FY 2004 as a result of retroactive benefit increases in 2002 and investment losses, which resulted in a $870.8 million increase in the fund's liability. * As of August 15, 2011, the County has approximately $804 million of outstanding pension obligation bond debt. The County must pay $81.4 million annually until FY 2027 to address its current pension obligation bond debt. * Total annual required pension costs have increased by over $190 million between FY 2000 ($98 million) and FY 2010 ($287.5 million). * Pension costs as a percent of General Fund revenues have increased from 3.54% in FY 2000 to 8.74% in FY 2010, with a high of 10.42% in FY 2005. When including voluntary contributions and pre-payments, pension costs as a percent of revenues experienced a high of 13.12% in FY 2008. * County pick-up costs have increased 63% for safety members and 27% for general members since FY 2000. If pick-up costs were eliminated, the County would have saved $57.6 million in FY 2010.

Download the report here.

Rosey Williams