U.S. public pension assets rose in 2011, so did obligations - chicagotribune.com: "Earlier this summer, the Pew Center on the States estimated pension systems were short $757 billion to pay for future benefits, based on data for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010. Voters and taxpayers worry that states, which for the mostpart are bound by law to make good on retirement promises to employees, will have to pull money from essential services to cover pension benefits. Employees, meanwhile, are alarmed that they will see greatly diminished retirement payments, which is especially troubling to those in states where public workers do not receive Social Security benefits."States have been digging themselves into this pension hole for some time," Kil Huh, Pew's research director, said in a presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures onWednesday. The fight over the underfunding of public pensions has engulfed most of the country. Over the last three years almost all states have reformed their pension systems while members of the U.S. Congress have floated different ideas for reshaping the plans' financial structures. . . . "
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