The New York Times, February 14, 2011
Governors and mayors facing large deficits have set their sights on a relatively new target --- the soaring expense of health benefits for millions of retired state and local workers. As they contend with growing budget deficits and higher pension costs, some mayors are complaining that their outlays for retiree health benefits are rising by 20% a year --- a result of the wave of retirements of baby boomers and longer life expectancies on top of the double-digit rate of healthcare inflation. The nation's governors face a daunting $555 billion in unfunded liabilities to finance retiree health coverage. The Pew Center on the States calculated those long-term obligations last year, saying New Jersey had the largest amount, $68.9 billion, with California second, at $62.5 billion.