Special Report: Connecticut Pensions
Published: January/February 2014
The Day's investigation into the state pension system included working with Visible Government Online Inc., an information technology and services company in Brunswick, Maine, to create a searchable database and interactive graphics. The information used to build the database was acquired through Freedom of Information requests filed by The Day.
Explore the data:
To seach by retiree name, select one of the pension systems:
Free health care for retired state workers has created a massive financial burden for the state. Meanwhile, the state has only set aside a tiny fraction of the money needed to pay the bill, which could total $16.2 billion between 2007 and 2037.
Retired public school teachers have been paying all or part of their retiree health insurance premiums since the start of the retirement board plan in the mid-1950s. Many state retirees do not contribute toward their premiums, or contribute a few dollars a month.
Private companies’ defined benefit pension plans, which must meet federal standards for prudent management, are becoming rarer. State governments continue to offer defined benefit pensions, but they don’t have to follow the same regulations.
The state is liable for a $25 billion pension system for public school teachers that is funded at only 55 percent of its obligations. The Day's analysis showed that 88.9 percent of retired teachers received more than $24,000 in pension payments in 2012, with the average pension being $47,386. Connecticut's public school teachers contribute a smaller percentage of their salaries toward their pensions than the national average.
While Democrats under the leadership of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy may have begun to repair the state's broken pension system, their Republican critics say the party in power remains unwilling in this election year to take the tough actions necessary to truly fix the problem.
The largest annual pension for a Connecticut state retireee goes to John F. Veiga of Coventry, who retired in 2009 after 38 years of teaching business at UConn. During those decades he contributed $222,128 to his pension. Now 70, he collects about $276,364 a year, the largest state pension paid in 2012 and nearly nine times the average state employee pension of $31,666.
Dan Livingston, a Hartford attorney who represented the unions in the 2011 State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition agreement will answer questions about the state’s pensions and employee benefits for The Day and readers on Tuesday, Jan. 14 from noon until 12:30 p.m. Please submit questions via Twitter using #ctpensionproject or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will also be able to submit questions during the live chat in the window below.