States Must Stop Fiscal Gimmicks and Address Liabilities: Report

BY: - January 15, 2014

States must stop using one-year budget gimmicks and move to multi-year budgeting and mandatory “rainy day” funds in order to address growing liabilities such as Medicaid costs and pension funds, according to the State Budget Crisis Task Force. “The costs of inaction are high. The ability of state and local governments to meet their obligations […]

Backlogs for Veterans Could Grow Under Shutdown

BY: - October 2, 2013

Veterans like World War II Veteran George Bloss, from Gulfport, Miss., crossed barricades to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington on the first day of the government shutdown. Some veterans benefits could be at risk if the shutdown continues for long. (AP) Veterans, who already face a lengthy backlog in getting help, […]

California Scales Back Pension Benefits

BY: - September 13, 2012

A new law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday (September 12) will scale back retirement benefits for public employees in an effort to rein in the costs of the state’s woefully underfunded pension systems. The law, which Brown touted as “the biggest rollback to public pension benefits in the history of California,” is expected […]

Illinois Passes on Pensions, Boots Lawmaker

BY: - August 20, 2012

Illinois lawmakers emerged from a special session Friday (August 17) with one fewer lawmaker and no plan to address the state’s soaring pension obligations.   Despite Governor Pat Quinn’s late efforts to float anything — even a watered-down proposal — past the gridlocked legislature, lawmakers in both parties refused to take the bait. As a result, […]

Illinois Lurches Forward, One Budget Crisis at a Time

BY: - August 17, 2012

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (AP) CHICAGO — Every time it seems Illinois might be pulling out of its budgetary tailspin, a new crisis hits. The latest one, which Democratic Governor Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to address during a special legislative session Friday (August 17), is the state’s ballooning annual pension payment. Those payments have become […]

Pennsylvania Struggles to Help Its Weakest Cities

BY: - July 12, 2012

The city of Reading, with a massive poverty problem, is one of the communities signed up for state relief. (Michael Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images) Brian Jensen, an economic development specialist, calls it “the measles map.” The drawing shows an outline of Pennsylvania with 27 red splotches marking financially distressed cities in every corner […]

Walker Win in Wisconsin Tops Historic Primary Day

BY: - June 5, 2012

In one of the busiest election days of 2012 and one of the most historic, voters in Wisconsin decided not to recall their Republican governor who set off a national debate by curtailing collective bargaining rights for state public employees. In a blow to organized labor, Wisconsin voters opted to let Republican Governor Scott Walker […]

Illinois Rushes to Finish Budget, Medicaid and Pension Changes

BY: - May 30, 2012

What may be the nation’s most fiscally troubled state is in the middle of a fateful week. Illinois legislators are racing to approve a new state budget and changes to the state’s Medicaid and public employee pension systems ahead of their scheduled adjournment tomorrow. On Medicaid, legislators already approved $1.6 billion in cuts last week. […]

Q&A With Outgoing Colorado Pension Chief: ‘The 401(k) Experiment Is a Failure’

BY: - May 16, 2012

Meredith Williams, who is stepping down as Colorado’s pension chief in July Meredith Williams has headed public employee pension systems in both Colorado and Kansas. During his nearly 21 years in those jobs, he has witnessed great changes in the scope and generosity of retirement benefits offered to state workers. In 2010, as executive director […]

Louisiana Weighs Deeper Pension Cuts

BY: - April 13, 2012

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s Kodak moment came this past January, during a weekly lunch meeting of the Baton Rouge Rotary Club. The image he asked the Rotarians to envision that day was not of a special memory snapped on film but of the bankrupt Kodak company itself—a victim, he said, of […]

California Pension Move Could Cost Both State and Localities

BY: - April 2, 2012

The California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation’s largest public pension fund, yesterday moved closer to adopting a more conservative forecast for the performance of its investments, in a move that would make state agencies  and local governments pay more to support the system.  A CalPERS committee voted to lower its expected rate of […]

Courts Block Efforts at Public Pension Change

BY: - February 15, 2012

  iStockphoto Two judges have ruled that their states cannot make existing employees contribute more to their retirement benefits.  A pair of recent court rulings could slow down state lawmakers’ efforts to increase contributions from current employees to prop up troubled public pension plans. Higher employee contributions were at the center of major public pension […]