Pension assets of large state defined benefit plans fell 6% last year, while liabilities grew 10%, according to a new Wilshire Associates study. Of the 123 state retirement systems in the study, 79% were underfunded in 2002, up from 51% in 2001 and 31% in 2000. Illinois has the largest unfunded liability, $34.9 billion, according to Wilshire. Five state plans Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia have funding ratios below 70%, with West Virginia the lowest at 45%. Only nine states have pension plans with assets that exceed liabilities: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In 2001, 23 states had assets that exceeded liabilities.