06/10/2014 02:17 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

Will Hawaii Ever Climb Out Of Its $27 Billion Hole?

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

When Google stock hit $1,000 a share last October, the financial milestone didn’t go unnoticed on the 14th floor of Honolulu’s City Financial Tower, headquarters of the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System, the state’s $12.5 billion retiree piggybank.

As newly minted Google millionaires in California’s Silicon Valley rushed to their local Lamborghini and Maserati dealers, pension officials in Hawaii were trying to calculate just how much the windfall might contribute to reducing their unfunded liability – that growing shortfall between the money it has, or expects to earn, and the billions it will need to make good on guarantees of financial security for current and future retirees.

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