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Going For Broke: Reforming California's Public Employee Pension

Apr 2010
Policy Brief
By  Joe Nation
CalPERS, CalSTRS, and UCRS1 together administer the pensions of approximately 2.6 million Californians. Between June 2008 and June 2009, these three public pension funds lost a combined $109.7 billion in portfolio value (see Table 1). The ability of these three funds to meet their future obligations has significant implications for the fiscal health of the state and public employers, the effective underwriters of many public pensions. In this policy brief, we ask two questions: (1) what is the current funding shortfall of CalPERS, CalSTRS, and UCRS, and (2) what policies would prevent a similar shortfall in the future? The data presented in this report are all from publicly available sources, primarily the quarterly and annually published financial reports of each fund. In addition, we sought and received input from economists and faculty advisors at Stanford University and other institutions to support our analysis and conclusions.