Some of the Richest Retirees are "Public Pension Millionaires"

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Some city and state government-sponsored pension plans may be struggling to remain solvent, but employees in more than a few states are retiring with some of the best benefits in the nation. So says a report dubbing "public pension millionaires" among the "richest retirees" in their states – contrary to the belief that such plans provide only a modest retirement benefit.

"In presenting their benefits as "modest," public pension plans and employee advocates commonly cite low average payments to retirees," writes Andrew G. Biggs, in a report for the American Enterprise Institute, a non-partisan think tank. "For instance, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCE) declares that 'the average AFSCME member receives a pension of approximately $19,000 per year after a career of public service.' This statement is false: for those who spend a career in government, public-sector pensions are far more generous."

Biggs compared the total retirement incomes for full-career state employees, including both pension benefits and Social Security retirement benefits, to the earnings of full-time, full-year employees in each state.