From the NY Times:
The cities, counties and authorities of New York have promised more than $200 billion worth of health benefits to their retirees while setting aside almost nothing, putting the public work force on a collision course with the taxpayers who are expected to foot the bill.
The total cost appears in a report to be issued on Wednesday by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a research organization that studies fiscal policy.
It does not suggest that New York must somehow come up with $200 billion right away.
But the report casts serious doubt over whether medical benefits for New York’s retirees will be sustainable, given the sputtering economy and today’s climate of hostility toward new taxes and taxpayer bailouts.
The daunting size of the health care obligation raises the possibility that localities will be forced at some point to choose between paying their retirees’ medical costs and paying the investors who hold their bonds. Government officials aim to satisfy both groups, and have even made painful cuts in local services when necessary to keep up with both sets of payments.