The slide on Wall Street could damage public employee pension funds around the country. And the burden could end up falling on taxpayers.
Stocks have been tumbling in the first weeks of 2016, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 down nearly 9 percent since the start of the year.
If there’s a quick rebound, the slump won’t make much difference. If the tumble continues, it could be bad news for pensions. Somewhere down the line, states may have to either cut benefits – which can be legally or politically difficult – or pump more tax dollars into their pension funds to make sure retirees get what they were promised.
As it is, many government pension funds are struggling to bring in enough money to cover future payouts.