If Santa looks at states when making a list of who's naughty or nice, he will find seven who most improved the condition of their pension funds since 2009, when the economic recovery began. Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Virginia are most improved, having more money available to fulfill their promises to retirees. (In accounting terms, this means less "unfunded liabilities.")
At Truth in Accounting, we have analyzed every pension fund in every state yearly since 2009. We calculate "employer share" for the state, when other government entities participate in the fund. Our work will line up with the new GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) rule requiring states in 2015 to fully disclose their pension funds' condition instead of hiding problems from citizens and elected officials.
These 7 states may avoid coal in their stockings. Going forward, all states should aim to truthfully report the condition of their pension and retirement health funds, to enable informed decisions and to live up to their duties to citizens.