States are putting limits on their pension plans and retiree benefits, usually calling for employees to pay more toward their future.
Governors and mayors say their workers are demanding unsustainable benefits. Union rebuttals are not turning the tide.
Policy makers from 25 states explored the long-term challenges posed by their public sector retirement costs at the Pew Center on the States’ conference, “Closing the Gap: Understanding and Managing State Pension and Retiree Health Care Benefits.” The event covered the financial risks posed by gaps in state and local pension and retiree health benefit funding, options to address public sector retirement costs and the effects of those changes on the state workforce..”
Robert H. Attmore, chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), discussed likely changes to accounting and financial reporting standards that would affect all state and local public sector pension plans.
Several state officials discussed how they are confronting pension issues, including Gina Raimondo, general treasurer for the State of Rhode Island, and officials from Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.
– Gauging the Risks–Public Sector Retirement Liabilities
– Gauging the Risks–State Case Studies
– Bending the Curve–Long-term Pension Cost
– Bending the Curve–State Workforce Retention and Recruitment
– Bending the Curve–Retiree Health Care and Other Non-pension Benefits
– The National Significance of State and Local Public Sector Retirement Issues
– The State-Local Balancing Act
– Looking Forward: Striking the Right Balance
From the summary:
A new study identifies common elements of public sector defined benefit pension plans that remained well-funded despite two severe economic downturns.
– Press release
– Fact sheet
States and locals trim retired government employee benefits to control costs, careful not to cripple themselves in the future
States are increasingly utilizing prison labor to plug budget holes, but public employee unions aren’t happy.
Source: Roger Bybee, Dollars and Sense, no. 294, May/June 2011
The “Wisconsin uprising” has slowed the newest anti-labor salvo….While Walker’s anti-union moves are on hold in the courts, labor and progressives have a chance to do something even more important than recalling Republican state legislators: to build a durable coalition that will support union rights and oppose draconian budget cuts.
Source: John D. Donahue Government Finance Review, Vol. 27 no. 2, April 2011
From the abstract:
A coherent consensus on where public workers stand, relative to their private-sector counterparts, is elusive. One reason is the complexity of the issues involved in governmental employee compensation.
Taking power away from labor won’t rescue states form their fiscal woes–but giving power to voters might.
Source: Matthew Rothschild, Progressive, Vol. 75 no. 6, June 2011
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Activists say it’s time to make Wisconsin ungovernable.