The Impact of Public Pensions for Municipal Issuers

Assessing the impact that pension liabilities have on state and local governments is a daunting task. For many state and local municipalities, pensions are becoming an increased burden on current and future budgets. Government reporting is becoming more transparent, but a decent lag time can still exist, and there are inconsistencies in terms of how liabilities are accounted for from one plan to the next. Moody’s Investors Services has done considerable work in assessing the problem, and providing transparency and consistency across issuers. Moody’s has been at the forefront in making an apples- to-apples comparison across plans rather than simply relying on municipal reporting estimates that may be understating the true liabilities.