Michigan’s school pension funding hole just got deeper. As of 2016, the system is $29.1 billion short of the amount its own analysts say is needed to cover future benefits. Last year, the shortfall was $26.7 billion. The new figure means the pension fund has only enough to cover 59.7 percent of the benefits owed to current and future school retirees.

The $29.1 billion unfunded liability is $2.4 billion higher than in 2015. It represents a debt that will cost taxpayers an additional $2.18 billion in annual interest. That’s more than the $2.00 billion the state will spend on its prison system this year.

 

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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