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Pew Center: Oklahoma Third Worst-Funded State Pension System (Apr 26, 2011)

A new study shows Oklahoma ranks third worst in the nation for having state pension funds that are below the safety line recommended for investing money to meet future pension costs. Researchers at the Pew Center on the States blame the sour economy and bad investment decisions.

Officials may be forced to fix the problem by cutting benefits or raising taxes. Many experts recommend states save at least

80 percent of the money they'll eventually need to pay the pensions promised to government employees. According to 2009 information, 31 states fall below that level.

Illinois had the largest shortfall, with only 51 percent. West Virginia is next-to-the bottom at 56 and Oklahoma is the next worst at 57 percent. New York was in the best shape at 101 percent. There are several measures making their way through the Oklahoma legislature intended to help reduce the pension funding gap.

State officials say the shortfall in Oklahoma is about 16-and-a-half billion dollars.

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