Blog Pensions & Benefits

NYC Long-term Liabilities Top $257 Billion

October 31, 2018

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018, released today, shows continued growth in New York City’s long-term liabilities for bonded debt, pensions, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB). These liabilities reached a record $257.3 billion, an increase of $4.7 billion since fiscal year 2017. (See Figure 1.) The average liability per New York City household has increased by more than $1,500 to $82,577.

NYC Long-Term Liabilities, FY2017 and FY2018

OPEB liability for retiree health and other nonpension benefits increased by $10.1 billion to $99 billion. Bonded debt also increased by $3.1 billion to $111.0 billion. In contrast, the pension liability decreased by $8.5 billion due to strong investment returns and the City’s commitment to increase budgetary contributions. In the aggregate the City’s pension funds are now 75.9 percent funded.

In September 2018 CBC released a report documenting the growth in these liabilities since fiscal year 2014; despite robust economic growth, City leaders have not made reduction of bonded debt and OPEB a priority. The enormity and continued growth of the OPEB liability in the past year in particular underscore the importance of implementing the report’s recommended strategies to reduce these costs.

The full report is available here: