First the good news: The state controller says the cost of providing healthcare to retired public employees did not rise as fast as expected.
Now the bad news: Over the next three decades, the bill is expected to be $63.84 billion more than Sacramento has set aside to pay for it, and state officials don't have a clear plan to cover those costs.
The updated figures were released Thursday by state Controller John Chiang.
"The current pay-as-we-go model of funding retiree health benefits is shortsighted and a recipe for undermining the fiscal health of future generations of Californians," Chiang said in a statement. "However, today's challenge won’t necessarily become tomorrow’s crisis if policymakers can muster the fiscal discipline to invest now so that we can pay tens of billions of dollars less later."
The unfunded liability for retiree healthcare, considered one of the most troublesome threats to California's financial health, was previously pegged at $62.1 billion.