In Massachusetts, state and local government retirees are eligible for pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB), such as health care. Since these obligations are accrued daily but not due for decades in some cases, policymakers discount the cost and ultimately push the expense onto future generations. In the meantime, the bill continues to grow as new employees vest and retirees live longer lives. Worcester’s current liability is more than $860 million. No community in Greater Worcester has fully funded its OPEB liability; in fact, the highest level of funding among local communities is less than 7% of the total obligation.
Municipalities must take OPEB obligations seriously. If not, the future promises municipal service reductions, layoffs, or tax increases to cover an ever-increasing obligation. Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB): Holding Government Liable highlights the seriousness of the issue and offers short-term and long-term options for reducing government exposure.