This New York Times story requires some further study.
It says, to deal with actuarial shortfalls caused by plummeting investment values, state pension funds around the country have been cutting pension benefits expected to be paid for people not yet hired and booking the savings now to shore up the perceived soundness of the retirement systems. Illinois pioneered the gimmick and it's now the subject of much investigating. But there was this:
Many thought Illinois was using an unorthodox maneuver to starve its pension fund of billions of dollars, while papering over a widening gap between what it owed and how much it had. Alarmed, they began looking for a way to discourage Illinois’s method before other states could adopt it.
They are too late. The maneuver, and techniques that have similar effects, are already in use in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas and a number of other places, allowing those states to harvest savings today by imposing cuts on workers in the future.
Arkansas systems have cut benefits for future workers and booked savings now? That's news to me. Any accountants/retirement system experts out there? George Hopkins, are you reading this morning?