California’s pension debt puts it $175.1 billion in the red

Gov. Jerry Brown uses charts to outline his proposed 2016-17 budget. The budget pegs unfunded retiree health care debt at $71.8 billion.

Although its 2014-15 budget was balanced, California’s state government ended the fiscal year $175.1 billion in the red, thanks largely to state retirement obligations that had to be included in its balance sheet for the first time.

Under new rules by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, state and local governments must list unfunded pension liabilities as debts alongside the more traditional bonds and other forms of debt.

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