A new report from State Budget Solutions says the cumulative debt from state governments now exceeds $4 trillion.
South Carolina’s $54 billion debt -- which includes future pension and retiree health insurance liabilities -- was listed as 26th highest, just behind Oregon. California’s $398 billion debt was the highest in the nation, while Vermont’s $3.6 billion debt was the lowest.
South Carolina did not fare as well in other categories. It’s $782 million debt for the state’s unemployment trust fund was 9th highest in the country, while its $9.1 billion unfunded liability in the retirement health insurance fund was the 20th highest in the nation.
Abraham Turner, director of the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce, recently announced his agency was paying off $106 million of its debt, leaving a balance of $676 million. The unemployment trust fund pays unemployment benefits to qualified South Carolinians who are looking for work.
The report lists the “market value” of South Carolina’s unfunded liability in its retirement system at $36 billion -- 28th highest. Nationwide, according to the study, retirement liabilities account for more than half of all state debt.
South Carolina lists the actuarial value of its unfunded pension liability at $15 billion. However, a new law that takes affect in January is projected to trim $2 billion from that liability in the first year.